Gregg, Pence Differ on Nuclear Power
Candidates for governor otherwise largely in sync on energy policy
(photos courtesy of IUPUI)
Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg says Indiana-generated energy should be an economic development tool in ways beyond its low cost.
Gregg addressed an Indiana Chamber energy conference a day after Republican rival Mike Pence spoke to the same group. The two agree Indiana should emphasize the energy sources which are abundant in-state: coal, methane and wind. And they both note the attractiveness to business of Indiana's relatively low electric bills.
But Gregg parts ways with Pence's recommendation to consider adding nuclear power to the mix. He says many Americans question the safety of nuclear energy, and says the permit process for a new plant could take as much as 20 years before a nuclear plant produces a single watt.
Both candidates recall the Marble Hill nuclear project, whose budget quadrupled as engineers struggled to fix structural problems. Public Service Indiana gave up on the partially-built plant near Madison in 1984, seven years after construction began. But Pence says that project is far enough in the past that it shouldn't shape current decisions, while Gregg says bad memories of the fiasco are still fresh for many Hoosiers.
Gregg says Indiana should make an effort to lure companies which burn coal or methane directly, or which build items like wind turbines.
Gregg is a former executive with the Peabody and AMAX coal companies -- like Pence, he says he strongly disagrees with President Obama's efforts to reduce the use of coal.