Skip to main content

Nuclear Politics in Missouri

The election this year has focused by and large on the economy and a fair number of important issues have fallen away. They haven’t ceased being important, of course, but politicians follow the interests of the public. One of the issues that has gotten less attention than in previous cycles is energy. In the 2008 contests, the candidates on both sides brought it up at the debates and even nuclear energy got a look (there wasn’t much distance between the candidates – nuclear energy was well supported across the ideological spectrum.)

But this year – not so much in the way of discussion and very little about nuclear energy. So let’s turn instead to what some of the local candidates are talking about.

Over in Missouri, incumbent state Representative Jeanie Riddle (R) and challenger Pam Murray (D) are running in the 20th district, an area that includes the Callaway facility, so nuclear energy is an issue in there.

Surely, there’s some room for disagreement:
Incumbent House Rep. Jeanie Riddle, a Mokane Republican, and Democrat Pam Murray of Holts Summit both support adding another nuclear reactor at the Callaway Energy Center but they disagree on how to do it.
jeanie_riddle
State Rep. Jeanie Riddle
Well, I was expecting more heat, but let’s see what the candidates have in mind. First, Riddle, who supported legislation in support of Callaway last year that passed the House but stalled in the Senate, has developed an interest in attracting small reactor manufacturing to the state:
We want to be the first to do this,” Riddle said, “because it would give us an advantage to becoming a world exporter of this technology. One study shows 8,000 new direct jobs and 8,500 new indirect jobs. It would add $25 billion to Missouri’s economy if our state becomes the lead exporter of these new power plants.”
On her campaign web site, she says, “I want to promote alternative energy sources here and across the nation especially nuclear energy.” 

pam_murray
Pam Murray
Pam Murray is interested in ensuring the Public Service Commission is not left out of the loop in approving new nuclear build.
“More than half of the legislation was devoted to gutting the Missouri Public Service Commission by realigning their budget. It also attempted to limit the amount of regulatory oversight the PSC could apply to telecommunications. It was just a very bad bill,” Murray said.

“It is possible to write a bill that will get the power plant and also protect consumers,” Murray said.
This is the disagreement that writer Don Norfleet is highlighting. I think this is the bill in question, but it doesn’t seem to me overly harsh to the PSC:
An electrical corporation seeking an early site permit from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, upon beginning the permitting process, is required to seek permission from the Missouri Public Service Commission to recover from ratepayers up to $45 million of prudent expenditures on the permit process over a period not to exceed six years.
Murray is all for expansion at Callaway, but is disappointed that bills promoting it have not progressed further.
It is apparent we do not have the representation needed to get this important project completed for our communities! I will work night and day to develop a workable solution to make this a win-win situation for our local governments, our schools, our county and our state!
Exclamation points from original. Riddle and Murray do not seem far apart on the overall issue of nuclear energy in Missouri, but Murray feels she would be a better advocate for Callaway than Riddle. We may assume Riddle thinks the opposite. 

You can see Riddle’s campaign web site here and Murray’s here.

No endorsement here. That’s for Missourians in the 20th district to decide. The doings of nuclear energy are one issue among many they will be considering, some of them, I’m sure, a good deal more important to their daily lives.

Comments

jim said…
Re: “It is possible to write a bill that will get the power plant and also protect consumers,” Murray said."

Bet they NEVER use that cautiously cagey punchline hawking oil and gas plants!

James Greenidge
Queens NY
Anonymous said…
It is amazing to me that politicians would so easily agree on having the public pay for the start up costs of a new plant. This is way before any electricity is even generated. It seems to me that this is a business expense to be borne by the corporation. Do you really need public assistance for this industry? t seems apparent that ratepayers will never recoup their "ïnvetment."

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …