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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - Still more on: Pipeline bill showing signs of rebirth (as is CWIP for nuclear power plants)

Note the "as is CWIP for nuclear power plants" portion of the above heading, from this April 16, 2011 ILB post.

Yesterday John Russell of the Indianapolis Star has a long story headed "Nuclear power for Indiana?." A few quotes:

[A]n influential state senator says it's time to encourage nuclear power again and has introduced a bill that would provide financial incentives to utilities to build nuclear plants.

Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee, says nuclear energy is clean, safe and reliable and should have a place in Indiana's energy lineup.

His bill, Senate Bill 302, would allow utilities to build a nuclear plant, or a small modular reactor, and pass along the construction costs to customers years before the plant goes into operation. * * *

Two years ago, the Indiana Senate passed a set of financial incentives for nuclear power but backed off a month later, after a catastrophic failure at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. The failure was caused when the plant was hit by a tsunami and released large amounts of radioactive material. * * *

Some citizens groups and environmental groups oppose the push toward small modular reactors, especially if utilities begin charging ratepayers to help build them years before they go online. They say it is unfair for households to see their bills climb, sometimes sharply, to pay for an unproven technology.

The only power plant in Indiana to be built under this financing plan, known as Construction Work in Progress (or CWIP) is Duke Energy's coal-gasification plant in Edwardsport. The plant, originally approved at $1.9 billion, has soared to more than $3.3 billion, with ratepayers picking up much of the increase. * * *

The Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana said CWIP financing has stung Indiana ratepayers in the Edwardsport case and should be avoided for nuclear plants.

"The only reason utility companies need CWIP is because those investments are too risky, too expensive, and Wall Street won't support them, similar to the Edwardsport (plant)," said Kerwin Olson, the group's executive director. "If an investment is sound, then CWIP isn't needed. If it's not a good investment for shareholders, why is it a good investment for consumers?" * * *

Two efforts to build nuclear power plants in Indiana in the 1980s were scrapped in the face of rising opposition and high costs.

The Northern Indiana Public Service Co. had proposed a 644-megawatt Bailly Nuclear Power Plant at a site near the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 1967, at a cost of $1.8 billion. It was never built.

And Public Service Indiana proposed the Marble Hill Nuclear Power Station, with two nuclear reactors, in southeastern Indiana in 1973. The company halted the project in 1984 when it was half-built, after spending $2.5 billion, making it the most expensive nuclear construction project ever abandoned. PSI was nearly bankrupted by the effort and was later bought by Cinergy, now part of Duke Energy.

The ILB has had a number of past entries mentioning Marble Hill.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 16, 2014 10:32 AM
Posted to Indiana Government