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Wednesday - January 13, 2016 12:00 am

Costs could be overwhelming after ban on nuclear plants lifted

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A law that's been in
place for three decades

Building nuclear power plants in Wisconsin once again just got a step closer Tuesday.

That’s when the assembly voted to lift the state's ban on new nuclear power plants – a law that’s been in place the last 30 years.

Right now, the state can't approve a new plant unless there's a federal waste repository and the plant won't burden ratepayers, which is exactly what a new plant would do, says the acting head of the Citizens Utility Board, Kurt Runzler.

“Construction costs, the capital costs, the costs of finance, building the actual thing," Runzler listed. “The operating costs. The decommissioning costs. And then the storage costs.”

Proponents say nuclear is getting cheaper compared to the rising cost of adhering to greenhouse gas emission mandates from the feds. Runzler strongly disagrees. Cheap nuclear power is the elusive dream for nuke proponents and Runzler doesn’t see that changing.

“Just seems like,” Runzler said, “the nuclear industry still hasn’t figured out how to build these facilities, on budget and on time and at a reasonable cost compared to the alternatives.

“Right now, an unknown cost, but one that’s going to be there is the storage costs for the spent fuel. To build a nuclear power plant, you have to assume you’re going to be storing the waste, on site, basically indefinitely.”

The next step now is a repeal to the state senate on whether or not ratepayers would take a big hit on the building of a new facility.

Last modified on Wednesday - January 13, 2016 1:02 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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