Sen. Brown named to nuclear energy task force

By the Herald staffMay 5, 2014 

Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, has been named to a new state Joint Select Task Force on Nuclear Energy.

She co-sponsored a bill to create the task force, resulting in a provision included in this year's state operating-budget revisions.

The task force will include eight members, with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats and the state House and Senate. It will hold no more than four meetings, with two of those meetings in Richland, before reporting, findings and recommendations to the Legislature by Dec. 1. It will disband in December.

The task force will consider whether increased nuclear power production is a viable and cost-effective way to reduce the state's use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

The task force is directed to consider the environmental benefit per dollar spent of nuclear power generation. Costs considered will include the life cycle of nuclear power technology and the storage and disposal of waste.

Brown is a supporter of nuclear power, saying she wants to look at the potential for it to play a more significant role than 3 percent of the state's power portfolio. It's a reliable and realistic way to go green, she said.

"This study will give my fellow lawmakers a clearer picture of the potential of nuclear power to support the local Tri-Cities economy and create jobs, in addition to providing clean energy for all Washingtonians," Brown said.

Washington state is well-positioned to take the lead in the new field of small modular nuclear reactors, she said.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, also have been appointed to the task force, with other appointments yet to be announced, according to the Office of Lt. Gov. Brad Owens.

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