As the Walker administration desperately tries to breathe new life into Wisconsin’s fading manufacturing sector, Republican legislators are now doing their part by trying to breathe new life into the prohibitively expensive nuclear energy sector.
Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that would end Wisconsin’s 32-year-old effective ban on the construction of new nuclear plants.
Dairyland Power Cooperative spokeswoman Deb Mirasola said regardless of any changes to state law, the company has no plans for a new nuclear generator. “Nuclear is not in our long-term resource plan,” she said. “Dairyland has made a conscientious effort to focus on renewable resources as we diversify.”
That’s right, a nuke plant operator is focusing on renewable energy now, while Republicans focus on costly nuke energy.
This is what they call moving “forward?” With over 3 long years left as governor, Walker may still make all of his dreams come true; remember this delayed Walker proposal?
Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to sell off state-owned power and heating plants … some or all of the 37 state government-run power and heating plants…”
Or this odd moment in GOP energy policy, now being brought back to life this week (many of these older links have gone dead, sorry):
Feb. 2013: Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) said he plans to push again to lift the state's moratorium on construction of nuclear reactors. The timing for such a bill may not be right, given that the state is on the verge of losing Kewaunee.
Or this fumbled Republican lunacy even the utilities groups couldn’t get behind:
Sen. Glenn Grothman has said he would introduce a bill to roll back the state's green power mandate, which requires the state to secure 10% of its electricity from renewable sources … utility representatives said a rollback wouldn't make sense, given the investments that power companies across the state already have made. The state's utilities are on track to comply with the renewable target in 2015.
Crazy? Of course. Republicans just govern this way, same old policy, regardless of cost:
Meanwhile, the cost of building new reactors - still banned under Wisconsin's nuclear moratorium - is so prohibitive that few utilities are undertaking the projects.
May 3, 2009: A wave of new reactors now in the works is intended to solve at least part of the nation’s energy problems … But cost is likely to plague every upcoming nuclear project.
In Missouri, the first of the next generation of reactors recently was put on hold because of the $6 billion price tag. Some states have altered laws so consumers begin footing the bill now, even before construction begins.
Construction will undoubtedly play out on your utility bill. Residential electricity rates would have risen (in Missouri) 1 to 3 percent annually for customers, up to 12.5 percent during construction.
That's okay, as long as it's not that Democratically supported green energy stuff that now costs a lot less.
And those older nuke plants?
According to AP, “estimates of dismantling costs have soared by more than $4.6 billion (for all plants) because rising energy and labor costs, while the investment funds that are supposed to pay for shutting plants down have lost $4.4 billion in the battered stock market. The amount of money set aside for dismantling the plants has decreased at nearly four of every five reactors. Radioactive waste could leak from abandoned plants into ground water or released into the air, and spent nuclear fuel rods could be stolen by terrorists. The average cost of dismantling a nuclear reactor is now estimated now at $450 million. The average plant owner has about $300 million saved up for the job. Typically, the money is raised through a small surcharge on electric rates."