Status of State Legislation Supporting Nuclear Energy

THe Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI)  published a report on State Legislation and Regulations Support Nuclear Energy in January 2022. This report reflects efforts by policymakers across the U.S. to accelerate the energy transition. Included in those efforts are those from policymakers recognizing the inherent value of carbonfree, reliable nuclear energy. Clearly, governors, legislators and state regulators play a critical role in shaping policies that can enhance the development, demonstration and commercial deployment of a wide array of nuclear technologies. NEI’s compendium provides an overview of policy trends in valuing carbon-free nuclear energy, providing financing and tax incentives and developing state energy plans by commissioning task forces and studies.

Even since this report was released, West Virginia became the latest state to pass a bill to repeal their historic ban on nuclear power plants.  Members of the House of Delegates passed Senate Bill 4 by a vote of 76 to 16, which repealed the two sections of code that provided a ban on construction of new nuclear power plants. 

Some of the most promising actions are:

  •  ALABAMA – HR 84: Encourages ongoing bipartisan efforts to spur the development of advanced nuclear reactors (Adopted March 2017)
  • ALASKA – SB 220: Establishes a statewide energy policy and levels the playing field for nuclear energy projects so that they can be considered alongside other energy sources. Allows smallscale nuclear reactor developers to apply for funding from the state’s Power Project fund. (Enacted July 2010)
  • CONNECTICUT – HB 1501: Allows for the Millstone nuclear power plant to participate in the state’s zerocarbon procurement program. (Enacted October 2017)
  • IDAHO – EO 2018-07: Supports the continued promotion, advancement and deployment of advanced reactor technologies, including small modular reactors, in Idaho.
  • ILLINOIS – SB 18:  Establishes a zeroemission credit program for the Byron, Dresden, and Braidwood nuclear facilities within the state. (Enacted Sept. 2021 and similar to SB 2814, which established a zero-emission credit program for the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear facilities.)
  • INDIANA – HR 54: Urges a study on small modular reactors that includes economic issues such as cost, economic impact, potential job creation, cost savings for electricity consumers; and technical, design, and regulatory questions. (Adopted March 2013)
  • KENTUCKY – SB 11: Removes the moratorium on the construction of new nuclear facilities within the state. (Enacted June 2017)
  • MONTANA – HB 273: Removes a provision in the Montana Major Facility Siting Act which required the public to approve any proposed nuclear energy facilities through a statewide election (Enacted May 2021) and SJR 3: Requires a study of the feasibility of advanced nuclear generation, including an evaluation of the economic feasibility of replacing closing coal facilities with advanced nuclear reactors (Adopted May 2021).
  • NEBRASKA – LB 84: Adds nuclear energy to the qualifying renewable energy sources eligible for a business tax incentive (Enacted May 2021).
  • NEW JERSEY – ER20080557-9 NJ PUC Order: Renews the zero-emission credit program for Hope Creek and Salem Nuclear Power Plants until 2024 (Ordered April 2021).
  • NEW YORK – NY PSC Order: Establishes a clean energy program and allows for the creation of zeroemission credit program to preserve certain existing zero emission nuclear generation in the state (Ordered August 2016).
  • OHIO – Ohio’s Legislature launched a Nuclear Energy Caucus (2019)
  • PENNSYLVANIA – Pennsylvania legislators launched a bicameral, bipartisan Nuclear Energy Caucus and release the “Bicameral Nuclear Energy Caucus Report” (2017-2018 Session), and SB 227/576: Urges the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to implement policies to ensure fuel secure generation resources like nuclear energy receive proper compensation for the positive attributes they provide nation’s electric system (Enacted October 2017).
  • WISCONSIN – Act 344: Repeals moratorium on the construction of new nuclear facilities within the state (Enacted April 2016)
  • WYOMING – HB 74: Authorizes permits for small modular reactors (SMR) to replace a coal or natural gasgenerating units so long as the SMR’s rated capacity is not greater than 300 megawatts (MW) (Enacted March 2020).