Rep. Stephanie Barnard’s advanced nuclear reactor technology bill approved by the state House

A bill that seeks to encourage the use of advanced nuclear reactor technology is one step closer to becoming law.

Approved by the state House during late-night floor action, Rep. Stephanie Barnard, R-Pasco, is the sponsor of House Bill 1584. The measure would require advanced nuclear reactor technology to be considered, along with other technologies that reduce dependence on fossil fuels, when the state develops its strategic energy goals.

“This bill places advanced nuclear reactor technology at the table for Washington state’s future energy plans,” said Barnard. “These reactors are versatile, reliable, carbon-free sources of energy. Exploring the possibilities of this type of abundant clean energy is essential for our state’s future.”

Barnard noted Washington state’s Clean Energy Transformation Act’s (CETA) goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045 cannot be met without adding the carbon-free, deployable, baseload generation.

Nuclear energy is considered baseload energy because it can constantly and steadily supply the energy grid. This feature makes it ideal for backing up other more intermittent clean power sources, like wind, solar, or tidal power.

“We’ve got an opportunity for safe, clean, deep decarbonization with advanced nuclear reactor energy. Not only would this help Washington state reach its CETA goals ― it also gives us an opportunity to be worldwide leaders in this technology.”

Advanced nuclear reactor technologies include small modular reactors, advanced water-cooled reactors, non-water-cooled reactors and fusion reactors.

“This is no longer your grandfather’s reactor,” continued Barnard. “We’ve come a long way from the technology of the ’80s. These reactors operate with significantly higher thresholds of safety compared to traditional light-water reactors.”

HB 1584 was approved 91 to 6, with one excused. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications