Rep. Stephanie Barnard announces $25 million allocation for advanced SMR development

Today marks a significant milestone for the energy landscape of the 8th District and the state, as Rep. Stephanie Barnard proudly announces the allocation of $25 million in the state’s 2023-25 supplemental capital budget. This allocation, provided as a non-federal match for Energy Northwest‘s participation in the United States Department of Energy’s loan programs office application, aims to advance the development of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) near the Columbia Generating Station.

With bipartisan support, the inclusion of this appropriation in the final draft of the budget underscores a shared commitment to fostering clean, safe, and efficient energy solutions.

Barnard, R-Pasco, expressed her enthusiasm for this achievement, stating, “This is a big moment for our region. The people of the 8th District are energy-savvy consumers who understand the importance of clean nuclear energy. The development of advanced SMRs has been a top priority goal in the Tri-Cities for years, and it’s a top priority for me.”

The prime sponsor of the capital budget proviso, Rep. Chris Stearns, D-Auburn, acknowledged Barnard’s instrumental role in securing the funding. “I want to thank and congratulate Representative Stephanie Barnard for all of her work to ensure that the Legislature successfully funded $25 million for an advanced Small Modular Reactor project near the Columbia Generating Station,” said Stearns. “This project holds great promise in providing clean, safe, and cost-effective energy options as we strive to meet our climate goals and create new job opportunities in our state.”

The $25 million allocation represents the first significant investment in nuclear energy generation by the Washington State Legislature in over a decade. Since her freshman year in 2023, Barnard has been a driving force behind initiatives to explore advanced nuclear energy technology and its potential applications in Washington state.

During her first year in office, the 8th District lawmaker spearheaded the formation of the bipartisan Nuclear Energy Caucus, underscoring her commitment to harnessing innovative solutions for a sustainable clean nuclear energy future.

Barnard emphasized the commonsense approach of incorporating nuclear energy into Washington’s energy mix. “Nuclear energy provides safe, clean, dependable, dispatchable, and affordable energy for our state,” she noted, highlighting the importance of diversifying energy sources to meet growing demand while mitigating environmental impacts. “I look forward to seeing the tangible impacts this investment will have on advancing clean energy solutions and fostering economic growth in our region and state.”

Acknowledging the collaborative efforts of fellow lawmakers, including former-Sen. Sharon Brown, Sen. Matt Boehnke, Rep. April Conners, and Sen. Drew McEwen, Barnard attributed the success of securing the $25 million allocation to their combined advocacy and dedication.

The 2023-25 supplemental capital budget now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.


Washington State House Republican Communications