A new bill in the Indiana state Senate creates guidelines for state regulators to consider small modular reactors should utilities want to build them. Senate Bill 271 was sponsored by Sen. Eric Koch (R., Bedford), chair of the Senate Utilities Committee, and Sen. Blake Doriot (R., Goshen). Supporters of the bill said that SMRs could replace retiring coal plants and would supplement renewables.
The Indy Star reported on January 24 that the utilities committee passed the bill by a vote of eight to two and that it now heads to the full Senate.
From the Indy Star: “This topic is exploding across the world right now,” Doriot said during the utilities committee meeting. “Nuclear energy is a clean energy,” he added, and it will “show us how safe it is, how reliable it is, and how the footprint is so small.”
Details: According to the Indy Star the bill orders the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to create rules for looking at SMR proposals, such as a utility’s plan to get all necessary approvals and licenses, including from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The bill also says that Indiana should consider whether the SMR would replace the generation of a retired coal plant and if it would be located on the same site as the former coal plant.
Opponents: The two committee members who opposed the bill—Sens. Shelli Yoder (D., Bloomington) and Jean Breaux (D., Indianapolis)—said that they still have questions about the technology and that there are too many unknowns.