Wisconsin Lifts Nuclear Power Moratorium

Wisconsin lifts moratorium on new nuclear power

The Kewaunee Nuclear Plant as it was under construction in the 1970s.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that repealed the state’s 33-year moratorium on new nuclear power plants.

Gov. Walker signed Assembly Bill 384 into law, which makes changes to the approval process of nuclear power plants and places nuclear in the state’s energy priorities policies. The bill passed the Assembly voice vote and was concurred by the Senate by a vote of 23-9. The moratorium initially required a spent fuel repository to be built before state lawmakers could approve the plant. Lawmakers, however, recognized that many plants can store spent fuel on site.

Under the bill, regulators must consider sources that are cost-effective and technically feasible, in the order of energy conservation and efficiency; noncombustible renewable energy resources; combustible renewable energy resources; advanced nuclear energy using a reactor design or amended design approved after December 31, 2010 by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and nonrenewable combustible energy resources.

“The legislation’s strong bipartisan support owes heavily to the broad, diverse coalition of supporters who mobilized in favor of the moratorium repeal,” said Alex Flint, Nuclear Energy Institute’s Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs. “It brought together Wisconsin’s skilled building and construction trades, the business and manufacturing community, and longtime environmental activists, who recognize the important role played by the existing nuclear capacity in serving the state’s economic, electricity reliability, and clean air priorities.”

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