WASHINGTON,D.C.—The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the nation’s largest policy organization for state lawmakers, has released a report identifying several recommendations to expand the use of nuclear energy as state lawmakers pursue policies that provide secure sources of energy. The policy options range from lifting moratoria on new nuclear power plants that exist in some states to tax incentives for new reactor construction to defining nuclear as a clean power source.
The report describes these “effective” policies and identifies instances in which they already have been put in place across the nation.
The policy prescriptions, disseminated this past weekend by NCSL’s Energy Supply Task Force at the organization’s Legislative Summit in Louisville, Ky., represent an attempt to balance “cleaner, domestic sources of electricity with the need for job growth and economic development.”
“In the past, most energy decisions have focused on reliability and cost,” the report states. “Today, utilities and policymakers consider many other factors as well, including job creation, economic development, energy security, and the environment.”
The NCSL task force notes that a growing number of states are passing clean energy legislation with significant provisions to expand nuclear energy. “These policies, along with the potential for federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, have changed the landscape when it comes to building new power plants,” the report states.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach on energy policy that will work for every state, but clearly nuclear has to be part of the mix,” said Rep. Al Carlson, North Dakota House majority leader and NCSL Energy Supply Task Force co-chair.
“States do need to take a lead on energy, and baseload generation is an important component,” added task force co-chair Tom Holbrook, who serves as chairman of the Illinois House Utilities Committee.Nuclear energy policy options identified in the task force report include:
• state laws making the permitting process more efficient without sacrificing safety, resulting in new reactor construction in a shorter time frame;• state-level financing support mechanisms;• tax incentives;• education and training for America’s nuclear work force;• incentives for domestic supply chain production;• revisions or repeal of nuclear energy moratoria;• nuclear power plant site suitability studies;• defining nuclear as “clean energy”; and• decommissioning trust fund support.
“Increasingly we are seeing states assume leadership over key energy issues that fail to secure commitment or enactment in Washington,” said Marshall Cohen, senior director for state and local government affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute. “In its acknowledgment of the role nuclear energy can play in securing a clean, reliable and domestic supply of electricity going forward, this NCSL report affords state policymakers an attractive menu of tested and proven policy options that promise to revitalize our economy while also help achieve our aggressive emissions reductions ambitions.
“NCSL leadership and its task force are to be commended for providing this comprehensive policy guide to lawmakers across the country at a crucial time.”
The full NCSL Energy Supply Task Force report can be found online at: http://www.ncsl.org/documents/energy/FutureEnergyChallenges0710.pdf
The NCSL publication and PDF are registered with the NCSL copyright and may not be reproduced, uploaded or distributed in any way in its entirety.