State senate votes to lift nuclear moratorium in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Senate voted Feb. 16 to lift the state’s ban on new nuclear plants, according to newspaper reports.

Currently, state regulators can’t approve new nuclear plants unless a federal facility for storing waste exists and such a plant doesn’t burden ratepayers. No federal facility exists, however, at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain or elsewhere.

The bill would clear the storage facility and ratepayer clauses from Wisconsin law, paving the way for new plants. The Senate approved the bill Tuesday 23-9, sending it to Governor Scott Walker for signing.

The Wisconsin Assembly had passed its version of the bill lifting the moratorium “on advanced nuclear options,” AB 384, on Jan. 12. The version that passed in the Assembly was sponsored by Rep. Scott Allen. Allen had pitched new nuclear generation as a means to provide the state with more carbon-free electric generation.

The nuclear moratorium has been in place over 30 years, Allen said. Several states have looked at lifting nuclear bans in recent years.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.