As the fate of Xcel Energy’s Comanche 3 power plant hangs in the balance, closing in 2040 with the potential of an even earlier shutdown, Pueblo leaders are looking to a potential replacement: nuclear energy.
“These are different types of power plants. They’ve taken new technologies, they’ve addressed the issues with water use, they’ve addressed a lot of the safety issues. I think now is the time to look at it,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Chris Wiseman.
Wiseman was one of several community leaders and energy sector experts who gathered at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center for a Thursday town hall discussing the possibility of shifting to nuclear energy.
Leaders are focused on finding a way to protect those jobs and that tax money, and by extension various projects such as the Joe Martinez Boulevard extension and a new recreation center on the St. Charles Mesa. Of course, there is also the national, state and local goal of reducing emissions and finding routes to clean energy.
“I think this is an excellent option from jobs, from tax base, from providing reliable energy into the future,” Wiseman said.
Nuclear power is just one idea for how to replace Comanche 3. Any serious capital improvement project to retrofit or build a new plant will involve a lengthy, intricate process with stakeholder and community buy-in.
It’s likely the Board of County Commissioners will schedule a work session to further discuss the nuclear power possibility.
“It will be a community effort,” Wiseman said. “It will have to be a community discussion. But I’m excited about what I heard today.”