Governor Walker signs nuclear energy bill into law

Gov. Scott Walker holds up Wisconsin Assembly Bill 384 after signing it into law at the Wisconsin Energy Institute on Friday, April 1, 2016. Photos by Matthew Wisniewski/Wisconsin Energy Institute

Madison – Today Governor Scott Walker signed into law Wisconsin Assembly Bill 384, removing regulations preventing construction of nuclear power plants in Wisconsin. 

Chancellor Blank and Governor Walker UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank introduces Gov. Scott Walker before he signed Wisconsin Assembly Bill 384.

The law lifts a moratorium, in place since 1983, on building new nuclear power plants that stipulated that no new plant could be created until a federally licensed storage facility existed  to handle its nuclear waste, and that any new nuclear power plants had to be economically beneficial to public utility customers.

Walker signed the bill at the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI). A nationally recognized leader in developing real-world energy innovations, WEI harnesses the energy-related research, teaching, and industry expertise on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus to solve large-scale energy issues, educate future energy leaders, and move new technology toward commercialization.

WEI is also home to a number of researchers working across traditional academic boundaries to investigate the potential impacts—both scientific and social—of next-generation nuclear energy systems.

Governor Walker and Nuclear Engineering Students Gov. Scott Walker takes a photo with UW–Madison nuclear engineering students in the Wisconsin Energy Institute lobby.

“We thought, if we’re going to sign it, what better place than right here at the Energy Institute,” Scott Walker said of the new law. “When you think of the work, when you think of the talent that’s coming through students, the talent that’s being instructed by the great faculty and the staff here, you think of nuclear engineering in particular, you just think of the powerful asset that we have here and all the talent that’s coming through, we’re taking another step towards being a leader here, this is the place that we should do it.”

WEI director and distinguished professor of engineering at UW–Madison Michael Corradini added, “It is fitting that a law allowing for the exploration of carbon-neutral energy solutions has been signed at UW-Madison’s hub of energy research, where our discoveries truly benefit the people of Wisconsin.”