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As Nuclear Ban Ends In State, Capito Pushes For Build-Out

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the GOP's lead negotiator on infrastructure, met with President Biden on Wednesday as an informal deadline next week nears for trying to reach a bipartisan deal.
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, is the senior Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

A day after Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill lifting a nuclear power ban in West Virginia, the issue came up on Capitol Hill.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the senior Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, asked a panel of experts Wednesday about building out nuclear power.

Capito is the sponsor of a bill to make it easier to build and license nuclear facilities.

In a hearing, she asked Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, about the feasibility of converting old coal plants to nuclear power.

Korsnick said such sites were well suited for nuclear.

“Repurposing coal plants or other fossil plants is extremely attractive for future nuclear plant siting,” she said. “For one thing, they have the transmission already there. That’s a challenging part of the infrastructure. It’s costly to build.”

Supporters of Senate Bill 4 say their intention is not for nuclear to displace coal in West Virginia but to remove a barrier to energy alternatives.

Nuclear could become a bigger part of the drive to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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