FRANKFORT — Looking to end a decades-old moratorium, State Rep. Gerald Watkins has pre-filed legislation designed to ultimately add Kentucky to the list of states allowing nuclear-generating power stations.
Watkins, who was recently elected to another two-year term serving the 3rd House District, said his bill eliminating the 1980s-era moratorium builds on work he has done in previous legislative sessions.
“As such, many more legislators appear open to doing away with this effective ban, which says Kentucky cannot have any nuclear power plants until the United States has a permanent repository for nuclear waste,” he said. “Although no permanent site is planned anytime soon, the reality is that this ban no longer makes sense, because we have come a long way in making sure the waste is handled in a responsible way. That’s why many others and I think it’s time Kentucky takes advantage of a power source that already provides a fifth of our country’s electricity. Western Kentucky is especially well-suited for such a facility, given the know-how our local workforce has gained through the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.”
Watkins’ legislation, which will be considered by the General Assembly during the 2017 Regular Session, would give the Public Service Commission the authority to work with a contractor to make sure any nuclear facility is compliant with rules established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The bill also calls on the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet to review state administrative regulations to determine what other changes in the law may be necessary to make building a facility possible. A report on those findings would be due by December 2017.
“My bill and the report it calls for from the Energy and Environment Cabinet will give us the foundation we need to move forward with bringing nuclear energy to Kentucky,” Watkins said. “The time has come for us to take this step.”