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Pueblo considering nuclear energy when Comanche 3 closes

The coal power plant in Pueblo could likely close in less than 19 years.
Comanche Three was originally built to last until 2070
Posted at 7:37 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 21:37:59-04

PUEBLO — Nuclear could be the next option in Pueblo as an energy source.

In a town hall on Thursday, Pueblo's Board of County Commissioners and other leaders from all over the country presented different reasons and strategies that they would like to see come to life for a "Zero Emission Technology Nuclear" power plant.

“We took an in depth look at comparing nuclear energy… or nuclear generation... to solar, wind and gas, and it was very clear that… nuclear certainly has a lot of advantages," said County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz.

This is all in an effort to be proactive as the city and county expects the Comanche Three Coal Plant currently operating in Pueblo to close before 2040.

The closure would mean roughly 100 jobs lost that provide salaries averaging $80,000 per person in Pueblo. Plus, the property tax on the plant is expected to be used for several projects in Pueblo County in the near future.

The BOCC and others seem to believe that a large nuclear power plant is the best route to take for Pueblo's economy.

"Take it a long time to build, it’d be a big capital project, there’d be a lot of property tax paid on a plant like that, a lot of employees to run it… Solar and wind, not so many employees with them," said Mayor Nick Gradisar.

However, some citizens in Pueblo do not agree with the idea.

"When it all comes down to it… jobs… the economy… none of that’s going to matter if we can’t breathe the air or drink the water,“ said Jamie Valdez, a climate activist with Mothers Out Front. Valdez says he is "vehemently opposed to nuclear energy" and believes Pueblo could be a leader in green energy considering the city's weather.

“As we transition more toward wind and solar, nuclear plants will be shut down leaving behind a radioactive mess.”

Ortiz emphasized that no concrete plans have been made yet to move forward with a nuclear plant.