MidAmerican Nixes Nuclear Power Plans for Iowa

Starting development work on a new nuclear plant in Iowa is "premature," given the uncertainty of carbon regulation and extensive regulatory review for new nuclear reactor designs, Des Moines–based MidAmerican Energy Co. said on Tuesday after it completed its nuclear feasibility study.

According to the company, the study concluded that there are viable sites in Iowa for new nuclear plants, that small modular reactors can be a cost-effective alternative to other forms of generation when carbon emissions are constrained or taxed, and that new nuclear technologies offer significantly safer capabilities. However, based on the assessment’s results, MidAmerican said it would not purchase land in Iowa for development of a nuclear plant and would not seek to renew its land options in Fremont County and Muscatine County.

The Berkshire Hathaway company also said it had asked the Iowa Utilities Board to approve a plan that would allow the company to refund nearly $8.8 million of funds collected from its customers and to cancel collection of the 0.5% charge for the assessment starting in July, three months earlier than planned.

MidAmerican in 2010 had pushed for enactment of legislation that authorized the assessment of nuclear generation potential in Iowa. Since it began its nuclear feasibility study in 2010, the company had identified various sites throughout the state and eventually narrowed the locations to two sites for additional testing.

The company said it would continue to assess and review "all sources" of generation in order to continue finding ways to serve its customers and remain a low-cost energy provider.

Sources: POWERnews, MidAmerican

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