Iowa could see more nuclear power plants similar to Palo's - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa could see more nuclear power plants similar to Palo's

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PALO (KWWL)-- A bill that would position Iowa to attract investment in nuclear power plants appears to have strong chances in the Iowa legislature this session which has some fearing the worst.   The town of Palo in Linn County is home to Iowa's only nuclear power provider.

Olin Andrews takes a break from work on the family farm.  His land sits less than a mile from Iowa's only nuclear power plant.  Olin says, "You ain't gonna move your farm because they are next door."

The plant opened 37 years ago and Olin's family eventually accepted their nuclear neighbor.

Olin says, "You try not to think about anything that could be bad, and it gets to be part of life, it's there, like any other neighbor!"

Rose Walters moved to Palo in 1993.

She says the plant is visually hard to miss, but it rarely disrupts her way of life.

Rose says, "It's just like new windmills going up, or anything else, its progress."

More plants could pop up in the next decade in Iowa.

A bill under consideration would allow utilities to charge customers for researching and potentially constructing plants similar to Duane Arnold.

Renee Nelson is the spokesperson for Duane Arnold Energy Center.

"We employ more than 600 and believe we've been a good neighbor to the people who live close to us and the state. We're excited to see the state pursue looking at nuclear as an energy form for the future."

Senator Joe Bolkcom, a democrat from Iowa City says, "We need to slow it down and make sure people understand the implications of this very expensive plan."

Mid-American Energy is researching potential locations. If they proceed, Iowa's second Nuclear plant could be in operation by 2020.

The people of Palo look forward to hearing who might follow in their hometown's footsteps.

Olin Andrews says, "After you live here, you don't even know they're even there."

A law approved by the legislature last year allows the utility to pass along up to $5 million dollars per year in study expenses to customers for three years.

Physicians for Social Responsibility and other groups that support renewable energy are lining up to oppose the latest version of the bill.

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