Wisconsin Lifts Ban On Nuclear Plants

April 5, 2016

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) signed 2015 Assembly Bill 384 last Friday, repealing the state's moratorium on new nuclear plants to create what he called a safe energy option for the state.

The earlier law banned construction of new nuclear facilities in Wisconsin in part due to a lack of centralized nuclear waste storage facilities. Wisconsin currently has only one nuclear plant in operation, the Point Beach plant in the town of Two Creeks near Manitowoc.

Walker said that more plants would be a boon to the economy by spurring construction, build carbon-neutral alternatives to fossil fuels and give assurances to businesses eyeing Wisconsin to locate that plenty of power exists. 

The bill makes changes to current law that to meet energy demands, the state's policy is, to the extent cost-effective and technically feasible, new options be considered based on the following priorities, in the following order:

  1. Energy conservation and efficiency
  2. Noncombustible renewable energy resources - example: hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wave and wind energy
  3. Combustible renewable energy resources - example: biofuels such as biogas, ethanol, biodiesel; biomass such as fuelwood, paper waste, animal waste, industrial and municipal waste
  4. Nonrenewable combustible energy resources - example: fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, natural gas, nuclear energy

Before commission can approve any new nonrenewable combustible energy facilities, they must consider advanced nuclear reactors such as the Xe-100 Pebble Bed Advanced reactor and the Molten Chloride Fast Reactor, both approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission  featuring greater safety features.

The new bill is supported by the construction industry but opposed by environmental groups. Walker said Wisconsin is safe for nuclear because it doesn't experience earthquakes and other natural disasters such as those that led to the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Source: State of Wisconsin