Keystone State lawmakers show interest in SMRs
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week adopted a resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a “holistic” study on the benefits of nuclear energy and small modular reactors. (The JSGC, according to its website, serves as the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s primary research organization, providing the legislature with a readily available mechanism for conducting interdisciplinary studies.) The November 15 vote was unanimous, 197–0.
The resolution, HR 238, would require the JSGC to report the findings and recommendations from its study to the General Assembly within 12 months of the resolution’s adoption.
HR 238 was introduced by state Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R., Dist. 106) and cosponsor Jim Struzzi (R., Dist. 62) on October 25 and reported favorably out of the chamber’s Consumer Affairs Committee the following day, 24–0.
The motivation: “I think we would be remiss not to do this study and do what we need to do to make sure that these coal plants being shut down here in Pennsylvania are replaced,” said Mehaffie in comments before the committee on October 26. “The only two baseload powers in Pennsylvania are nuclear power and coal generation, so we need to make sure that we are replacing [coal plants] in like-kind. The study will help us get to the point where we can try to obtain federal funding . . . and hopefully move forward in replacing some of them.”
In case you missed it: The Energy Information Administration reported last week that nearly a quarter of the operating coal-fired fleet in the United States is scheduled to retire by 2029.