IN Lawmakers Consider Framework for Small-Scale Nuclear Reactors
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
From electric-vehicle infrastructure to renewable-energy initiatives, Indiana lawmakers have spent much of this legislative session with their eyes on a post-fossil-fuel future. Now, Republicans are pushing a controversial alternative - nuclear power.
The state Senate has approved a bill establishing a framework for utilities to build and operate small modular reactors. In a House committee meeting last week, state Sen. Eric Koch, D-Bedford, said the measure would help pave the way for Indiana's future energy economy.
"States are moving this direction; nobody is moving the other way," he said. "States around the country are all taking steps in this direction, and I hope you would agree Indiana should, too."
The bill also would grant financial incentives to companies that operate and build nuclear reactors. Opponents have argued that the cost of operating and constructing the facilities would be passed on to consumers, and environmental groups have expressed concerns about nuclear waste, which can be expensive and difficult to dispose of safely.
The Indianapolis Star reported that there are no small modular reactors currently operating in the United States, and Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition, said the bill places ratepayers on the hook to help fund relatively untested projects.
"The nuclear industry certainly talks a good game, makes lots of promises," he said, "but the reality is, they've delivered very little in the last several decades."
The bill would instruct the state's Utility Regulatory Commission to give preference to proposals to build reactors on retired coal-plant sites. Denise Abdul-Rahman, the Indiana NAACP's environmental climate justice chair, said those plants often are located in historically disadvantaged communities.
"The radioactive waste will last for thousands of years," she said, "and can have impacts on humans for thousands of years."
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, small modular reactors generate about one-third as much power as traditional reactors.
The measure passed out of the House's Energy and Utilities Committee last week.
get more stories like this via email
The number of people with some higher education but no degree or other credential to show for it has increased in recent years, according to a new …
Starting this month, chemical companies will resume being taxed for cleanup of areas with a lot of leftover toxic waste, also known as Superfund …
Today is the deadline for Missouri residents to make sure they are registered to vote if they want to cast a ballot in the August primary. Eligible …
As states ban abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, women's advocates in New York and beyond are raising awareness of the outsized impact …
The fate of more than 600,000 so-called "dreamers" hangs in the balance as opening statements are heard today in a case that could make or break the D…
A four-year project to map big-game routes throughout the West will end without additional funds from Congress - at least for now. Since 2018…
Groups working to curb climate change said a Supreme Court ruling limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control carbon …
Government labels on meat products that say "humane" or "raised in a stress-free environment" are meaningless, according to some animal-rights groups…