A bill that would lift the moratorium on nuclear power plants in Kentucky is nearing final passage in the General Assembly. The bill has already passed the state Senate and is awaiting a hearing in the full House of Representatives.
Tom FitzGerald with the Kentucky Resources Council has called nuclear power a bad deal for future generations.
“We get the cheap energy and we saddle future generations for a millennia with the responsibility to be mature enough to properly manage the waste that we’re generating," FitzGerald remarked.
The legislation would change state law requiring plants to have a way to permanently dispose of nuclear waste. Nuclear facilities would be allowed to temporarily store waste on site.
Senator Danny Carroll, a Republican from Paducah, is the bill's sponsor. He said nuclear power would complement the state’s use of energy derived from coal.
“It is crucial that we have a balanced portfolio in our state to allow the purchase of inexpensive energy to provide a better quality of life for our people and to help us recruit business and industry into our state," Carroll stated.
State lawmakers from Paducah have long tried to lift the moratorium, which was first put in place in the 1980s. The city is home to the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which enriched uranium for use in nuclear power plants and weapons.
Carroll said lifting the moratorium could help bring jobs that have been lost at the plant, though he said it would be years before a nuclear project could move forward in the area.
Last year, the Tennessee Valley Authority brought the country’s first nuclear power plant online since 1996 in southeastern Tennessee.