CASPER, Wyo.– On Monday, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed legislation changing the state’s nuclear power and storage regulations.
Act of registration at home 59 includes a variety of provisions related to nuclear power generation and nuclear waste storage as the state works to establish a regulatory framework in anticipation of TerraPower’s planned construction of a new Natrium nuclear reactor about $4 billion to Kemmerer.
Although Wyoming is not investing directly in TerraPower’s Natrium nuclear reactor project, Gordon said last week that the state has a role to play in ensuring regulations are appropriate. The governor said he thought Act of registration at home 59 A lot of it is to make sure that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations take precedence over state-level regulations.
The new law allows nuclear waste to be stored in the state if it is stored at the site of a nuclear power plant and if the storage facility is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In addition to clarifying requirements to build and operate “advanced” nuclear reactors in Wyoming, the new law also changes tax exemptions for nuclear operators. Any advanced nuclear reactor operating in the state would be exempt from state taxes until June 30, 2035. Beginning July 1, 2035, nuclear reactor operators would continue to receive tax exemptions only if at least 80 percent of the he uranium used to generate electricity for the month comes from uranium mines located in the United States.
Gordon said last week he hopes the development of advanced nuclear reactors can coincide with a revitalization of Wyoming’s uranium industry. Russia is a major supplier of uranium and the US ban on Russian energy does not include a ban on Russian uranium imports, according to Reuters.
Russian company Tenex is the only company producing a commercial supply of high-dosage low-enriched uranium (HALEU), the type of uranium needed for the Natrium reactor to be built in Wyoming, according to the American Nuclear Society. Limited HALEU fuel is available in the United States through the Department of Energy, and the The DOE is working on short-term and long-term solutions to increase the supply of HALEUincluding a partnership with Centrus Energy to bring an enrichment facility in Ohio online.
Gordon said last week he thought it was important for the United States to work to increase domestic supply and capacity to process uranium and other critical minerals as well as sources of conventional energy such as oil, pointing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as proof of why self-sufficiency on energy is important.
Act of registration at home 59 also includes provisions for Wyoming’s Industrial Development Information and Siting Act, which assesses companies planning large industrial projects based on cost impacts on communities and the environment. The new nuclear law subjects advanced nuclear reactor projects to Wyoming industrial siting rules only if those provisions do not interfere with or duplicate Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements.
Wyoming’s new law requires nuclear reactor operators to report to the state on the number of jobs that will be created “in planning, licensing, site analysis, preparation, purchasing, construction, transportation, operation and decommissioning of the advanced nuclear reactor and how many of those jobs would be filled by Wyoming residents.
It also requires operators to report the amount of local and state taxes they believe will be generated “from all aspects of the construction, operation and decommissioning of the advanced nuclear reactor.” Another reporting requirement includes reports on the benefits and impacts to the state and community where the reactor will be built, including “the benefits of job training, education, communication systems, surveillance and security systems.
The new nuclear law also ensures that nuclear reactors built to replace end-of-life coal-fired power plants would not be subject to the same cost recovery limitations that apply to electric utilities built to replace coal-fired power plants. charcoal at the end of its life.