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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington bill looks to encourage nuclear tech in state energy goals

Feb. 3, 2023 Updated Fri., Feb. 3, 2023 at 4:10 p.m.

Signs remind visitors approaching the B Reactor on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash., in 2016.  (Los Angeles Times)
Signs remind visitors approaching the B Reactor on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash., in 2016. (Los Angeles Times)
Columbia Basin Herald staff reports

OLYMPIA — Washington state House Bill 1584, which was introduced to the House on Jan. 25, would require advanced nuclear reactor technology to be considered, along with other carbon-neutral energy alternatives when developing the state’s strategic energy goals.

“I’m excited my bill helps expand this important energy resource,” said Rep. Stephanie Barnard, R-Pasco, a primary sponsor of the bill. “Advanced nuclear reactor technology is price-competitive with other renewables. Because it’s reliable and can be used on a large scale, nuclear energy can reduce our dependence on carbon-producing energy supplies.”

A release by Barnard’s office states that the bipartisan measure would also require the Department of Commerce to maximize federal and other non-state funding to support energy efficiency, renewable energy, emerging energy technologies and other activities of benefit to the state’s overall energy future.

Barnard, who is a member of the House Environment and Energy Committee, says the state’s ambitious decarbonization goals need to include meaningful and durable support from state government regulatory agencies, the release said. She also said the state’s CETA goal of 100% clean energy by 2045 is unachievable without deployable, carbon-free, baseload generation.

“With today’s energy challenges, including skyrocketing fossil fuel prices, alternative non-emission-producing sources like advanced nuclear energy need to be expanded. I look forward to seeing this bill move through the legislative process,” said Barnard.

The bill has been scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Environment and Energy at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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