Nuclear bill amendment fails to address Iowa Utilities Board staff concerns

Supporters of the nuclear legislation HF561/SF390 argue a new amendment to be debated tomorrow in the Senate Commerce Committee resolves the major concerns concerning this legislation.  But analysis by the Iowa Environmental Council reveals most of the content of the new amendment is simply carried over from a previous attempt to amend this legislation, filed as S-3380 on the last day of the 2011 session.

That means the Iowa Utilities Board Staff had seen most parts of the current amendment when they prepared an analysis criticizing this proposed legislation.  Below are some quotations from that report (emphasis added), which you can read in full here (pdf).

“Staff understands the intent of HF 561 is to make nuclear power plants a viable alternative source for future baseload power, particularly in an environment in which carbon emissions are constrained. In doing so, HF 561 causes significant shifts in both current energy policy and traditional ratemaking principles. While the current bill restricts those changes to nuclear power plants, staff believes some provisions of HF 561 may go beyond leveling the playing field and could give a nuclear power plant unintended advantages over alternative sources of electric power.” (page 6)

“This provision would exempt proposed nuclear plants from the existing requirement that a public utility that proposes a new plant must show that it has considered other feasible sources of long-term supply and the proposed plant is reasonable when compared to those alternatives.” (page 7)

And in case you missed it, a new analysis released today by national expert on nuclear plant financing, Mark Cooper, points out other ways the current amendment falls short.

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