Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What does WI Assembly Bill 384 Senate Bill 288 do?

The proposed legislation is Assembly Bill 384 and Senate Bill 288.  The legislative bills are identical. 

This legislation allows our state to consider advanced nuclear energy for identified energy needs that cannot be met cost effectively by energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy. 

While not requiring the construction of any nuclear facility, the legislation opens the door to Wisconsin considering the most recent Advanced Nuclear energy options approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The date selected to define “Advanced Nuclear” was chosen to ensure our state the benefit of designs, or revised designs, certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission following Fukushima, and incorporating any “lessons learned” from that event.  

Advanced nuclear energy could, under the bill, be considered for identified energy needs that cannot be met by higher energy priorities - energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy.

Any nuclear energy proposal would be subject to the same “prudency” requirements as other options, and would be required to demonstrate “cost effectiveness” and “technical feasibility.”  The proposed legislation eliminates provisions designed to single out nuclear and make it unavailable.  

The bill also does not prevent us from building or refurbishing fossil fueled facilities when the feasibility and cost criteria indicate this is the most prudent option.   Currently, and for about seven years, gas prices in the United States have been at historic lows, so many new facilities across the country have been built to use gas.   

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