MidAmerican continues Iowa nuclear study

While it has not made any firm decisions, MidAmerican Energy Holdings (MEH) is now two years deep into a three-year study about the potential development of a nuclear power plant in Iowa, a spokesperson acknowledged Sept. 25.

In 2010, the state of Iowa enacted a law that directed MidAmerican to investigate possible construction of nuclear facilities in the state. That study began in the fall of 2010, a MidAmerican spokesperson said in an email response to a GenerationHub inquiry.

As part of the effort, MidAmerican Energy is evaluating geography, environmental issues, proximity to transportation routes, and proximity to existing transmission lines. “Right now, we are focusing on areas in Fremont and Muscatine counties in Iowa,” the spokesperson said.

Television station KWQC in Davenport, Iowa, reported on its website Sept. 25 that MidAmerican has contacted many landowners in Muscatine County and invited them to a private meeting. The station also reported that some Muscatine landowners said the power company has offered to purchase their property.

Soil samples are being taken in various parts of Iowa, said the spokesperson. “The sites under study also may be a good location for other generating facilities, such as a natural gas plant, if a nuclear plant is not pursued,” the spokesperson said.

MidAmerican expects to make an overview of the study available to the public in 2013.

“Nuclear energy should be considered as part of Iowa’s energy future to keep the state competitive, both nationally and globally,” the company said on its website. “MidAmerican Energy will only recommend a nuclear project if it is in the best interest of customers and is a low-cost source of energy,” MidAmerican said.

MidAmerican Energy provides electric and natural gas service to customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. MidAmerican is part of the Berkshire Hathaway corporate family headed by investor Warren Buffett.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.