No, not Washington, D.C., the one on the other coast.
A couple of weeks ago, we noted that a Washington state senator named Sharon Brown had introduced a couple of bills into the legislature to promote nuclear energy. (The state hosts the Columbia Generating Station.)
Sometimes, these bills drop off the news radar – they don’t get out of committee or run up against the end of a session – but these did move.
By a 27-to-21 vote Friday, the Senate sent a bill to the House that would have the [state energy] department find places to build and ship small modular reactors. Also Friday, the Senate voted 44-to-5 in favor of establishing voluntary nuclear education programs in schools.
These were sponsored by Republican state Senator Sharon Brown and clearly saw some bipartisan action – the Senate is split down the middle, with Republicans in control. The House has four more Ds than Rs, pretty close to even.
Which doesn’t mean there was no partisan action:
Sen. Brown said that Oregon, Idaho and Utah are talking about small modular reactors. “Where is Washington state in these discussions?” she continued. “We have the human capital. We have the ability.”
Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, countered that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not approved any small modular reactor designs yet. And he noted that the nation has not nailed down where to put used nuclear fuel from its more than 100 commercial reactors, plus from Hanford’s defunct plutonium reactors. “Yes,” McCoy said, “it is carbon-free. … But when you burn it, you’re creating wastes.”
Arguable points, certainly, though I don’t have the impression there’s really much of a conflict. But you know newspapers – there isn’t a story without he said-she said, in this case, literally. At least, the anti nuclear brigade isn’t hauled in.
On to the House!