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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ind. Law - "Indiana rethinking nuclear energy plans"

Until today, the ILB's most recent entry on SB 251 was on Feb. 28, 2011. That entry quoted from a Gary P-T story, headed "Bailly activists weigh in on nuclear bill ." The still available story has a great photo of the proposed Bailly Nuclear Power Plant in Porter County, planned in 1979 to be built right on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Also on Feb. 28, the Indy Star published this opinion piece on SB 251, authored by state senators Beverly Gard, Brandt Hershman and Jim Merritt, headed "My View: This bill offers the right energy policy for state."

Yesterday Diane Krieger Spivak, who also authored the earlier Bailly story in the Gary Post Tribune, reported:

Indiana could be backing off on its push to promote nuclear energy, following the nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan.

Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, called for the state to step back and take a critical look at Senate Bill 251, the state’s alternative energy bill authored by Long that includes promotion of nuclear energy, among others.

The Senate passed the bill Feb. 22 and moved it to the House, where it waits with other bills for Democrats to return from their walkout.

“Given what happened in Japan in the past few days this certainly gives us great pause, and we need to take a step back, try to understand how this happened,” Long said, referring to Friday’s earthquake and tsunami that has caused partial meltdown in Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Last evening WTHR.com's Jeremy Brilliant has this story, headed "Abandoned plant marks Indiana's shot at nuclear power." It includes photos of the abandoned Marble Hill nuclear power plant.

Today the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has this editorial, headed "Drop nuclear energy bill." It concludes:

On Feb. 22, the Indiana Senate passed Senate Bill 251, which would encourage construction of plants that generate nuclear energy.

Among other things, the bill would allow utility companies to switch the financial burden to build such plants from shareholders to current customers. This financing would represent a marked change in how utilities pay for projects in Indiana, one that deserves more debate.

The bill would also ensure utility companies building new nuclear generating plants “qualify for financial incentives available for clean energy projects.”

Indiana does experience earthquakes, tornadoes and flooding, all of which could cause power outages.

It took a generation after the nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl before fears died down. The passage of time, new technology and concerns about increasing oil prices and global warming have revived interest in nuclear power.

The U.S. Department of Energy is working to expand nuclear energy with a guaranteed loan program that will offer billions of dollars of financial backing for companies investing in nuclear power. Administration officials said they would look to learn from the disaster. They also said the crisis in Japan won’t deter the country’s nuclear power plans. But maybe it should.

Indiana already has a sketchy history with its previous attempts at nuclear power generation. State leaders would be foolish not to take the disaster in Japan as a reminder of the dangers of nuclear power.

A more careful and public examination of all the potential dangers needs to happen before state leaders decide going nuclear is the only way to meet the state’s future electricity demands.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 16, 2011 10:17 AM
Posted to Indiana Law