US Wisconsin lifts moratorium on nuclear construction

6 April 2016

The US State of Wisconsin has lifted a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear facilities, including NPPs, according to the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a bill on 1 April repealing a moratorium, which had prohibited the building of new nuclear energy facilities in the US state for 33 years, the statement said. The new legislation classifies nuclear as an efficient and "non-emitting" technology that can be considered by state and local decision makers in drafting policies to meet energy demand. The Wisconsin Senate voted on 16 February 2016 to repeal the State's moratorium on nuclear plant construction, imposed in 1983. Republican state Representative Kevin Petersen said at the time that he had introduced the legislation because the reason for the ban - the lack of a federal used-fuel repository - was no longer relevant as dry storage was in wide use at NPP sites. Wisconsin has two 591MWe operating pressurized water reactors at NextEra Energy's Point Beach NPP, which began operating in the early 1970s.

"Nuclear energy is an affordable, environmentally safe, and sustainable alternative to fossil fuel," Walker said. The new legislation "provides the Wisconsin Public Service Commission with increased flexibility for Wisconsin's energy portfolio with the potential addition of nuclear facilities", he added. It also specifies that regulators must consider nuclear energy as an option when designing new and replacement energy projects Advanced nuclear energy using a reactor design or amended reactor design approved after December 31, 2010, by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission" appears ahead of non-renewable combustible energy in the prioritised list of options.

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