Inspenet, October 13, 2023.
Nuclear power is now considered “clean” in North Carolina, at least according to the view expressed in state legislation. This was confirmed after both chambers of the General Assembly overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of energy legislation passed in September.
This designation sets the stage for Duke Energy ‘s plans to convert its steam power plant into the first new nuclear power plant in the state since 1987. In addition, it supports renewed interest in atomic energy as a constant source of emissions-free electricity , regardless of the intensity of the wind or the presence of the sun.
“ You can’t get a more reliable, cleaner, low-carbon source of energy than nuclear ,” Republican Rep. Dean Arp of Union County argued Tuesday during debate before the override vote.
Nuclear plants do not generate pollutants that retain heat and contribute to climate change, unlike plants that burn fossil fuels. However, Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Guilford County Democratic Party member, argued that emissions should not be the only criterion for evaluating the environmental impact of energy production.
Clean Nuclear Energy: Implications of Cancellation
With Tuesday’s repeal, state laws will now use “clean” energy terminology instead of “renewable” when referring to the generation of electricity without polluting emissions.
The new language effectively recognizes nuclear power as an option for Duke Energy in its strategy to meet state requirements to reduce climate-impacting emissions from electricity production by 70% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, and achieve a “carbon neutral” state by mid-century.
The law also eliminates certain requirements linked to the construction of nuclear facilities and expands the aspects that the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission must evaluate before approving energy projects. This includes the availability and capacity of energy generation, as well as the costs associated with its maintenance and decommissioning.
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