Kentucky senate voted 29-6 Thursday to approve a bill that would use national standards for nuclear waste disposal instead of current state regulations.

The bill allows the Public Service Commission to approve a nuclear plant if there is a plan for waste storage.

Nuclear facilities are required to have a plan for permanent disposal but there is no such site.

State Sen. Bob Leeper of Paducah said adopting the federal standard would allow KY sites to be considered for next generation nuclear power plants which would help curb greenhouse gas emissions caused by coal-fired powered plants.

He said Kentucky has been at a disadvantage because 41 other states do not have such restrictions. There are 104 nuclear power plants in the United States.

State Sen. Charlie Borders voted for Senate Bill 13.

“I was very pleased to vote for that bill,” Borders said. “We need to do everything we can to not be dependent on foreign countries. If we don’t come up with alternative energy sources we’re in a world of hurt. We’ve got to do everything in our power to be energy dependent.”

The Federal Energy Department applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a disposal site for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in the Nevada desert.

State Sen. Walter Blevins, who voted against Senate Bill 13, said Yucca Mountain is the only place nearly safe enough for nuclear waste disposal. If any waste seeped out of storage, granite on the ground would keep the earth safe from contact.

State Sen. Bob Leeper unsuccessfully introduced legislation in early 2008 to lift Kentucky’s ban on nuclear plants.

He said the state should expect many requests to build nuclear power plants, now that the ban has been lifted.

Blevins said since there were some negative votes, the House should take a closer look at the bill.

Senate Bill 13 will move to the House for its consideration. The full House meets again next week.

Carter Countians who want to voice their opinions should contact State Rep. Robin Webb.



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