Capitol Beat: House to vote on lifting limited ban on nuclear energy production
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - A bill that would lift the limited ban on nuclear power generation in the Mountain State has a first reading on the floor of the House of Delegates on Tuesday.
Raleigh County Republican Del. Brandon Steele, (R) 29th Dist., is the lead sponsor of the bill.
The ban limiting nuclear power plants was put in place in the 1980s after explosions at plants in Chernobyl and other places across the globe. Since that time, Del. Steele said the technology has improved significantly, with many plants using other agents besides liquid reactors.
In an effort to promote U.S. energy independence, he said the federal government is offering more than a billion dollars in subsidies to companies that take retiring and retired coal fired power plants and turn them into modular nuclear power generation plants.
As the 5th leading energy producer in the country, he said it’s important to maintain that standing. But he cautions that these reactors will only be able to use facilities that were set to close anyway.
“We have to maintain that status not just for ourselves and our families, but for our country. They’re counting on us to get this right and they’ve been counting on us since the first light bulb came on. I think that’s what the majority of the legislature wants to do.”
If passed, Del. Steele said lawmakers will spend the next year creating a regulatory authority to ensure future plants are built safely.
The bill is expected to be voted on by the full House on Friday.
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