EDITORIAL: Colorado Needs Nuclear Power Too | Opinion


How about a power source that can generate nearly unlimited amounts of power without leaving a carbon footprint, rain or shine, day or night, wind or shine? is it calm? This is what we could call renewable energy. Or, you could just call it nuclear energy.

While nuclear power plants provide 20% of the country’s electricity needs, the last such plant in Colorado – Xcel Energy’s Fort Saint Vrain power plant in the Northeast Plains – has ceased to operate as a nuclear facility in 1989. Since then, the state and the nation have radically realigned energy priorities and committed to zero carbon emissions. Which means now, more than ever, it’s time to restart nuclear power in Colorado.

Some elected officials in Colorado’s Metropolitan Area 3 are calling for such a transition in our energy portfolio. Last fall, Pueblo County commissioners told state utility regulators that if the state agreed to shut down the Xcel coal plant in the county early, by 2040 or sooner, as environmentalists demanded it, so the state should let Xcel replace it with a nuclear power plant.

“We’ve tried to take a look at the full range of what’s available to us, but the (renewable energy) technology is only so far,” the county commissioner said. Pueblo, Garrison Ortiz, on Colorado Public Radio in October.

“We’re trying to be realistic and we’re just trying to look at the feasibility of small modular nuclear technology in the community.” Ortiz and his fellow commissioners have filed a statement reporting this case with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

This week, the Associated Press reported: “Nuclear power is emerging as an answer to fill the void as states move away from coal, oil and natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. …”

The AP polled all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found that “a strong majority — about two-thirds — say nuclear will, in some way, help replace fossil fuels.” The AP concluded, “The growing momentum behind nuclear power could lead to the first expansion of nuclear reactor building in the United States in more than three decades.”

Even the Biden administration’s U.S. Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, told the AP in her report that the administration’s bid for carbon-free electricity — itself, a standard party refrain from the president – ​​”means nuclear” as well as other energy sources.

Which means that while more environmentally friendly and Democratic Party-dominated states were among those in the survey that were less likely to go nuclear, that got nothing less than the stamp of approval from the government. President.

The old stigma of nuclear power and the handful of accidents since its inception are rare exceptions that prove the rule of a stellar safety record in the entire nuclear power industry in the United States.

It should be remembered that by far the worst nuclear accident in the world, and the only one in which people died as a direct result, occurred in 1986 in the former Soviet Union, at a Chernobyl plant – built by a regime authoritarian in a crumbling communist economy that cut off every corner of factory construction. None of this, of course, would be the case in Colorado.

And the new generation of small “modular” nuclear reactors that Ortiz refers to seem even more promising.

For the sake of our global climate, our local air, and our energy economy, it makes sense to develop this critical technology as part of Colorado’s energy portfolio.

The Gazette Editorial Board

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