Nuclear Power Facts
by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery (R-126 including the counties of
Barton, Dade, Jasper and Polk)
The 2009 legislative session will address the need for more base-load electricity generation in Missouri. Ameren Corp. serves 1.2 million Missouri electric customers representing nearly 50% of Missouri's total consumption. They expect demand to increase 30% by 2020. Ameren is seeking the necessary licenses and funding to construct a second nuclear unit at their existing Callaway nuclear facility near Fulton, MO. Some changes to Missouri laws regulating electric utilities may be needed in order for Ameren or any utility to finance new base-load plants.
Some important facts about nuclear generation include:
- Nuclear power provides 20% of U.S. electricity, uses no fossil fuel, and represents 71% of our emission-free generation. Another 25.4% comes from hydro-electric and 3.7% from other renewables.
- The amount of "greenhouse gas" emissions prevented at the nation's 104 nuclear power plants nearly equals that of all the passenger cars on American highways.
- The U.S. Dept. of Energy predicts the nation will need 300 new large power plants on line by 2030.
- Nuclear power plants excess water provides excellent habitat for endangered aquatic species. Some plant owners have developed nearby wetlands, earning praise from environmental groups.
- Nuclear power has a lower production cost than coal or natural gas.
- In seven states nuclear is the largest method of electricity generation: Vermont, New Jersey, South Carolina, Illinois, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York.
- In a typical nuclear plant, 400 to 700 permanent jobs are created, paying 36% above average local salaries and generating $40 million each year in general labor income, $430 million in sales of goods and services and nearly $20 million in state and local taxes.
Missouri is one of only a few states that prohibit consideration of construction costs by utilities until a new plant is actually online. Customers are penalized by at least three possible consequences: first, financing may not be available under those conditions, resulting in construction of less efficient generation; second, if financing can be arranged, billions in additional interest charges result due to the higher risk to investors; and thirdly, huge rate hikes are assured after construction because of the single-point imposition of the full cost of construction and accumulated interest charges.