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Representative Jerry Nolte (r-33) pre-filed HB 82, which would allow “investor-owned electric utilities” to utilize “small modular reactors” to meet Renewable Energy Standard percentage requirements.

Not so fast:

Small Modular Reactors [pdf]

No Solution for the Cost, Safety, and Waste Problems of Nuclear Power

BY ARJUN MAKHIJANI AND MICHELE BOYD

Some proponents of nuclear power are advocating for the development of small modular reactors (SMRs)as the solution to the problems facing large reactors, particularly soaring costs, safety, and radioactive waste. Unfortunately, small-scale reactors can’t solve these problems, and would likely exacerbate them.

There has been a proliferation of proposed SMR designs, but none have applied for certification by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission yet. The NRC says that it expects to receive its first SMR design certification application in 2012….

….estimates of low prices must be regarded with skepticism due to the history of past cost escalations for nuclear reactors and the potential for cost increases due to requirements arising in the process of NRC certification. Some SMR designers are proposing that no prototype be built and that the necessary licensing tests be simulated. Whatever the process, it will have to be rigorous to ensure safety, especially given the history of some of proposed designs….

Efficiency and most renewable technologies are already cheaper than new large reactors. The long time – a decade or more – that it will take to certify SMRs will do little or nothing to help with the global warming problem and will actually complicate current efforts underway. For example, the current schedule for commercializing the above-ground sodium cooled reactor in Japan extends to 2050, making it irrelevant to addressing the climate problem. Relying on assurances that SMRs will be cheap is contrary to the experience about economies of scale and is likely to waste time and money, while creating new safety and proliferation risks, as well as new waste disposal problems.

Okay, that doesn’t sound very promising to me.

The bill:

FIRST REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO. 82

96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES NOLTE (Sponsor), FISHER, KORMAN, KOENIG, SCHAD, KELLY (24), ZERR AND ALLEN (Co-sponsors).

0207L.01I                                                                                                                                                  D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk

AN ACT

To repeal sections 393.1025 and 393.1030, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to the renewable energy standard.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

           Section A. Sections 393.1025 and 393.1030, RSMo, are repealed and two new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 393.1025 and 393.1030, to read as follows:

           393.1025. As used in sections 393.1020 to 393.1030, the following terms mean:

           (1) “Commission”, the public service commission;

           (2) “Department”, the department of natural resources;

           (3) “Electric utility”, any electrical corporation as defined by section 386.020;

           (4) “Renewable energy credit” or “REC”, a tradeable certificate of proof that one megawatt-hour of electricity has been generated from renewable energy sources; [and]

           (5) “Renewable energy resources”, electric energy produced from wind, solar thermal sources, photovoltaic cells and panels, dedicated crops grown for energy production, cellulosic agricultural residues, plant residues, methane from landfills, from agricultural operations, or from wastewater treatment, thermal depolymerization or pyrolysis for converting waste material to energy, clean and untreated wood such as pallets, hydropower (not including pumped storage) that does not require a new diversion or impoundment of water and that has a nameplate rating of ten megawatts or less, fuel cells using hydrogen produced by one of the above-named renewable energy sources, and other sources of energy not including nuclear that become available after November 4, 2008, and are certified as renewable by rule by the department;

           (6) “Small modular reactors”, a nuclear reactor:

           (a) With a rated capacity of less than three hundred fifty electrical megawatts for each reactor; and

           (b) That can be constructed and operated in combination with similar reactors at a single site.

           393.1030. 1. The commission shall, in consultation with the department, prescribe by rule a portfolio requirement for all electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity generated from renewable energy resources or small modular reactors. Such portfolio requirement shall provide that electricity from renewable energy resources or small modular reactors shall constitute the following portions of each electric utility’s sales:

           (1) No less than two percent for calendar years 2011 through 2013;

           (2) No less than five percent for calendar years 2014 through 2017;

           (3) No less than ten percent for calendar years 2018 through 2020; and

           (4) No less than fifteen percent in each calendar year beginning in 2021. At least two percent of each portfolio requirement shall be derived from solar energy. The portfolio requirements shall apply to all power sold to Missouri consumers whether such power is self-generated or purchased from another source in or outside of this state. A utility may comply with the standard in whole or in part by purchasing RECs. Each kilowatt-hour of eligible energy generated in Missouri shall count as 1.25 kilowatt-hours for purposes of compliance.

           2. The commission, in consultation with the department and within one year of November 4, 2008, shall select a program for tracking and verifying the trading of renewable energy credits. An unused credit may exist for up to three years from the date of its creation. A credit may be used only once to comply with sections 393.1020 to 393.1030 and may not also be used to satisfy any similar nonfederal requirement. An electric utility may not use a credit derived from a green pricing program. Certificates from net-metered sources shall initially be owned by the customer-generator. The commission, except where the department is specified, shall make whatever rules are necessary to enforce the renewable energy standard. Such rules shall include:

           (1) A maximum average retail rate increase of one percent determined by estimating and comparing the electric utility’s cost of compliance with least-cost renewable generation and the cost of continuing to generate or purchase electricity from entirely nonrenewable sources, taking into proper account future e
nvironmental regulatory risk including the risk of greenhouse gas regulation;

           (2) Penalties of at least twice the average market value of renewable energy credits for the compliance period for failure to meet the targets of subsection 1. An electric utility will be excused if it proves to the commission that failure was due to events beyond its reasonable control that could not have been reasonably mitigated, or that the maximum average retail rate increase has been reached. Penalties shall not be recovered from customers. Amounts forfeited under this section shall be remitted to the department to purchase renewable energy credits needed for compliance. Any excess forfeited revenues shall be used by the department’s energy center solely for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects;

           (3) Provisions for an annual report to be filed by each electric utility in a format sufficient to document its progress in meeting the targets;

           (4) Provision for recovery outside the context of a regular rate case of prudently incurred costs and the pass-through of benefits to customers of any savings achieved by an electrical corporation in meeting the requirements of this section.

           3. Each electric utility shall make available to its retail customers a standard rebate offer of at least two dollars per installed watt for new or expanded solar electric systems sited on customers’ premises, up to a maximum of twenty-five kilowatts per system, that become operational after 2009.

           4. The department shall, in consultation with the commission, establish by rule a certification process for electricity generated from renewable resources and used to fulfill the requirements of subsection 1 of this section. Certification criteria for renewable energy generation shall be determined by factors that include fuel type, technology, and the environmental impacts of the generating facility. Renewable energy facilities shall not cause undue adverse air, water, or land use impacts, including impacts associated with the gathering of generation feedstocks. If any amount of fossil fuel is used with renewable energy resources, only the portion of electrical output attributable to renewable energy resources shall be used to fulfill the portfolio requirements.

           5. In carrying out the provisions of this section, the commission and the department shall include methane generated from the anaerobic digestion of farm animal waste and thermal depolymerization or pyrolysis for converting waste material to energy as renewable energy resources for purposes of this section.

[emphasis in original]

Do you think those republican surrogates would have run attack ads against Robin Carnahan (D) if her brother had developed nuclear reactors instead of a wind farm? Just asking.

Blue Girl texted me a version of this May 2, 2010:

BREAKING: Large Air Spill at Wind Farm. No threats reported. Some claim to enjoy the breeze. #p2 #windpowerdisaster  7:01 PM Apr 29th, 2010  via web

You can’t say the same thing about molten sodium, can you?