Two bills intended to encourage construction of a nuclear power plant in Oklahoma passed a House committee Tuesday. House Bill 1750, by Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman, would establish a review process for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to consider nuclear power proposals and create a task force to consider tax changes to encourage nuclear plant construction.
House Bill 1320, by Rep Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, would let the Corporation Commission decide on nuclear power plant applications after a public hearing. The House Energy and Utility Regulation Committee passed both bills, which advance to the House floor. Opponents questioned the health risks to those living near a nuclear pant and the expense of building one. Past attempts to build a one in Oklahoma have failed. Oklahoma is one of 16 states without a nuclear power plant. Martin said it takes about 10 to 12 years to build a nuclear power plant. A nuclear power plant costs about $8 billion.
About the billsUnder his bill, an electric utility would be able to file an application with the Corporation Commission to determine the need for a nuclear plant. If the application is approved, the power plant’s costs would be subject to cost recovery rules similar to those for other power plants, which include passing some costs to ratepayers. House Democratic leader Danny Morgan of Prague questioned whether it is fair to pass those costs to ratepayers, saying ratepayers likely wouldn’t get a refund if the nuclear plant isn’t built. HB 1750 also creates a task force to make recommendations that, among other things, would determine if an existing tax credit for production and sale of electricity by zero-emission facilities should apply to nuclear power. Dr.