Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy has announced it is shelving its plans to build new nuclear reactors in Iowa due to insurmountable regulatory hurdles.
MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK), began its assessment of Iowa’s nuclear generation potential in 2010 and recently completed a nuclear feasibility study, which it submitted it to the state regulators on Monday.
Various sites were identified and two locations were targeted for additional testing, but after the results of oil and environmental assessments at the target areas were revealed, MidAmerican said there was too much uncertainty over carbon and other regulations to proceed at this point.
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"It is premature, given the uncertainty of carbon regulation and the extensive regulatory review for new nuclear reactor designs, to immediately pursue any additional site work on a future generation option, including a nuclear facility," the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
The feasibility study had also concluded that new small modular reactors (SMRs) would be a cost-effective alternative to other forms of nuclear generation as long a carbon emissions are constrained or taxed. It’s still very early days for SMRs, but it is likely that MidAmerican is eyeing this as a longer-term alternative goal.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com