Legislators from Washington and four other states are joining forces to advocate for nuclear power.
"It's time to have a nuclear renaissance," said Washington state Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland.
He and Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, have joined the newly formed bipartisan National Nuclear Caucus founded by Idaho state Rep. Erik Simpson, R-Idaho Falls.
"The National Nuclear Caucus will be a working partner with pro-nuclear organizations and with our elected officials in Washington," Simpson said in a statement. "Involving state legislators across the country will add another voice in support of nuclear energy."
It's the same strategy that helped give state legislators a voice starting a decade ago on Columbia and Snake River issues, Delvin said. Then legislators in Washington and three other states joined to send information and a unified message to Washington, D.C.
"I'm encouraged by the National Nuclear Caucus and their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of nuclear power as a job creator that will make America more energy independent," said U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., in a statement. "The more that people understand about this safe, non-emitting, low-cost energy source, the better positioned Congress will be to help support new nuclear facilities."
The caucus also has the support of Idaho's Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.
Haler will be contributing 36 years of nuclear experience to the caucus.
"I think it's important to get together as states, especially states that have Department of Energy facilities or nuclear power plants," Haler said. "We need to get the word out (nuclear) is green renewable power and it's safe."
The nuclear caucus also will give legislators a stronger voice within Washington, Delvin said. It will be producing policy statements and issue papers, he said.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received applications for 18 new nuclear power projects, some with more than one reactor. In addition, several fuel cycle facilities are planned or are being built.
"The National Nuclear Caucus will be following the progression of these projects and will be a proponent for new nuclear-related projects," Simpson said.
Additional founding members of the organization include Nevada Rep. Ty Cobb, R-Reno; Idaho Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian; Tennessee Rep Jim Hackworth, D-Clinton; New Mexico Rep. John Heaton, D-Carlsbad; South Carolina Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, and South Carolina Rep. J. Roland Smith, R-Warrenville.
Three members, including Haler, work at Department of Energy national labs or nuclear weapons sites.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org.