A legislative committee has approved a bill that would lift Wisconsin’s long-standing moratorium on building new nuclear power plants.
The bill would remove a requirement blocking the state from considering new nuclear reactors, unless a federal site exists to store the waste and it can be shown the project would benefit ratepayers. It passed out of the Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee Wednesday on a 13-0 vote.
Backers argue modern reactors have addressed many of the concerns that existed at the time the restriction was put in place back in 1983, and say that nuclear power should be a part of Wisconsin’s clean energy portfolio as the state tries to meet federal requirements to reduce carbon emissions.
Critics of the measure contend that the moratorium should remain in place, since cleaner and less dangerous forms of renewable energy exist through wind and solar.
It remains unclear whether the bill will receive a vote in the Assembly before the session ends this spring.
The state currently has two functioning nuclear reactors, located at the Point Beach facility in Two Rivers. Any proposed new power plant would still need state and federal approval.