Testimony of Tom Sager before the
Chairman Crowell, Vice-chairman Brown, and honorable members of the Veterans' Affairs, Emerging Issues, Pensions and Urban Affairs Committee:
Veterans' Affairs, Emerging Issues, Pensions and Urban Affairs
Committee of the Missouri State Senate
against SB50 and other similar bills
March 9, 2011
My name is Tom Sager. I reside in Rolla. I am an associate emeritus professor of computer science at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Thank you for this opportunity to address you.
Neither SB50, SB321, SB359, SB406 nor any similar bill should be passed out of committee because:
1. They are contrary to the letter and spirit of the 1976 anti-CWIP initiative statute,
2. They force ratepayers to pay for a project too risky for private investors, and
3. Nuclear power is expensive, dangerous and polluting and creates far more problems than it purports to solve.
No bill such as SB50 which goes against either the letter or the spirit of the anti-CWIP statute passed by the voters in 1976 by a 2 to 1 margin should be enacted. The voters spoke loudly and clearly. If any legislator wishes to repeal any part of anti-CWIP or enact a bill contrary to its spirit, let him take it directly to the voters for approval.
Many of you believe in the free market. Apply free market ideology to the nuclear power issue. If Ameren cannot find private funding for their proposed Callaway II nuclear power plant, then it ought not to be built.
Senator Kehoe mentions hundreds of supporters for SB321, some with quite substantial assets and profits. Why don't they invest their own money? It is easy to support spending other people's money.
Nuclear power is expensive. It is not a solution to anything.
The Olkiluoto project, considered the flagship of the so-called nuclear renaissance, is four years behind schedule and $4 billion over budget. The so-called nuclear renaissance is plagued with delays, cost overruns and cancellations.
Okiluoto, incidently, is a project of Areva which is owned by the French government. Senator Kehoe may be proud that a company owned by the French Government which is four years and $4 billion behind in their flagship project is looking closely at Missouri. I am not.
Nuclear power is dangerous.
I can tell you as a computer scientist that there is no such thing as a 100% secure complex system. Power plants are certainly no exception.
Recall that Ameren was responsible for the catastrophic failure of the dam at the pump-storage facility atop Proffit Mountain. Ask yourselves what would have occurred if it had been Callaway I instead of Proffit Mountain; and then ask yourself whether you really want to see Ameren build Callaway II.
Nuclear power is polluting.
The problem of nuclear waste disposal has proved to be virtually unsolvable. 65 years into the nuclear age, we have no facility to safely contain nuclear waste. With the Yucca Mountain facility cancelled, we are unlikely to have a disposal site anytime in the foreseeable future.
We need no new nukes. There have been tremendous improvements in conservation and renewables. There will certainly be more. Conservation and renewables, along with existing generating capacity, can satisfy our energy needs for the foreseeable future.
To mention two examples: There is absolutely no reason why we couldn't generate electric power from methane at every municipal sewage plant in the state. There is absolutely no reason why we can't put solar panels on every government building in the state with a suitable exposure.
These projects would create much-needed jobs in Missouri now. Callaway II may never create a single real job; and in any case, will not begin to create jobs for years.
Thank you for your consideration.