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Nuclear energy   For the first time since the 1930s

Kentucky preparing to lift nuclear power moratorium

Danny CarrollKentucky may be on the cusp of lifting a decades-old moratorium on nuclear power plants, with supporters of the move hoping to perhaps attract a smaller modular facility to the commonwealth to help diversify its coal-dominated generation fleet.

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The Kentucky House of Representatives is expected to hear Senate Bill 11, possibly later this week, after it easily passed the full Senate on a bipartisan 27-8 vote last week.

For the first time since the 1930s, Republicans control both both houses of the Legislature and Governor Matt Bevin is a Republican as well.

Republican State Senator Danny Carroll, the bill's primary sponsor, said in aninterview that removing the nuclear ban is crucial to giving the state a balanced generation mix.

Coal, he added, still fuels more than 80% of Kentucky's generation, although natural gas is on the rise. The state has no nuclear plants and very little renewable energy.

Aside from energy diversity, economic development also plays an important role in the bill's aspirations.

"There are certain industries that look at energy policies where, if they see a state heavily relying on fossil fuels, they may not relocate there for that reason," Carroll said.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the past in Kentucky, only to fall by the wayside. Carroll thinks this year may be different.

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