Tax incentives for nuclear energy firms clear first round

Companies that build advanced nuclear reactors in Nebraska would be eligible for tax incentives under a bill advanced from general file April 26.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman
Sen. Bruce Bostelman

Under LB84, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, a renewable energy firm that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity would qualify for incentives under the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.

Bostelman said the bill is intended to help Nebraska attract companies that currently are developing advanced nuclear energy technology. He said small modular reactors, molten salt reactors and microreactors, which are the size of semi-trailers, are safer than current designs and can improve the electrical grid’s reliability.

“As the energy industry becomes more reliant on renewable energy, and given the current administration’s commitment … to all carbon-free sources of energy, including advanced nuclear reactors, it would be prudent to incentivize nuclear energy in Nebraska,” Bostelman said.

Sen. Julie Slama of Peru supported the bill. She said small modular reactors can be turned off and on to meet electricity demand, making them more flexible than traditional large-scale reactors that must run at nearly full capacity at all times. That is important at a time when renewable energy, which can fluctuate with the weather, is becoming a larger part of utilities’ power generation portfolio, Slama said.

“Small-[scale] nuclear reactors are coming,” she said. “Nebraska has a great opportunity here to be a leader on that front.”

Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan also supported LB84, saying advanced nuclear energy projects would create high-paying jobs and generate electricity in rural Nebraska in a “fiscally reasonable way.”

Senators voted 36-1 to advance the bill to select file.

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