The Colorado Independent,2020
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At this moment, 19 miles north of Omaha in the small town of Blair, Neb., a barrier of Aqua Dams separates the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station from the Missouri River’s flood waters. Another 100 miles downstream on the Nebraska side of the river but past the Iowa-Missouri line, more than 5,000 tons of sand was brought in to help protect the Cooper Nuclear Station from rising waters.
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall has walked a fine line the last several years, advocating for new nuclear energy because of global climate change concerns while running the risk of alienating his Democratic, environmentalist base, many of whom still bitterly oppose nuclear power because of its legacy of mining pollution in the state. In the wake of the Japan’s ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo, more than just the so-called “dirty front end” of nuclear power – Colorado’s rich but sometimes toxic uranium mining history – is being called into question. The issues of waste storage at the state’s only nuclear power plant – the now-defunct Fort St. Vrain – and a lack of water to cool future reactors also are being hotly debated.
The future of Colorado’s dormant nuclear power industry hinges on two critical issues – water and waste – both of which could prove insurmountable for proponents of new nuclear power plants in the state. Pueblo attorney Don Banner struck a nerve last week with his proposal for a new clean energy park that would include a nuclear power plant. His rezoning request will likely be decided by the Pueblo County commissioners next month, but not before the plan sparked heated debate in the wake of Japan’s ongoing nuclear power crisis.