Nebraska ponders advanced nuclear

May 13, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News


Companies that build advanced nuclear reactors in Nebraska would be eligible for tax incentives should a measure now being considered by that state’s lawmakers, Legislative Bill 84, become law.

Under L.B. 84, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman (R., 23rd Dist.), a renewable energy firm that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity could take advantage of the ImagiNE Nebraska Act—a business tax incentive program signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts in August of last year. The bill adds “nuclear electric power generation” to the act’s list of renewable energy sources qualifying for incentives. (Sources already listed in the act include wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and transmutation of elements.)

A word from the sponsor: According to Bostelman, L.B. 84 is intended to help Nebraska attract companies that currently are developing advanced nuclear energy technology. “As the energy industry becomes more reliant on renewable energy, and given the current administration’s commitment … to all carbon-free sources of energy, including advanced nuclear reactors, it would be prudent to incentivize nuclear energy in Nebraska,” he said, following the unicameral legislature’s 36–1 vote in late April to advance the bill from “general file” to “select file.” (A general file bill is one presented to the full Nebraska legislature for initial consideration. Legislation that survives that first round of vetting is then subjected to further debate as a select file bill.)

And from colleagues: Sen. Julie Slama (R., 1st Dist.) noted that while traditional large-scale reactors must run at nearly full capacity at all times, small modular reactors are more flexible, making them a valuable energy source at a time when renewables such as solar and wind, which fluctuate with the weather, are becoming a larger part of utilities’ power generation portfolio. “Small-[scale] nuclear reactors are coming,” Slama said. “Nebraska has a great opportunity here to be a leader on that front.”

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