South Dakota House pass HB1071

PIERRE, S.D. (SDBA) — The South Dakota House passed HB1071 61 to 7, reflecting a renewed interest in nuclear energy.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Weisgram (wise-graham), aims to revise a state law provision granting the governor authority to enter agreements with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Supporters assert two critical reasons for the revision: First, to clarify that the governor must deal with the NRC; And second, to prepare the state for the potential construction of a “fourth generation” nuclear plant by NorthWestern Energy.

Weisgram emphasized the importance of readiness for nuclear power investment and described the bill as a foundational step towards that goal.

Concerns were raised about the potential impact of uranium mining in the state, with Democratic Rep. Peri Pourier (poor-your) expressing constituent worries.

Weisgram addressed this, noting that the federal agreement did not mention uranium mining. However, he said South Dakota would assume regulatory authority over radiation if the NRC permitted a plant, but that the NRC otherwise was the primary regulatory agency.

South Dakota’s only previous nuclear plant near Sioux Falls operated from 1964 to 1967.

The bill’s journey now proceeds to a Senate committee for further consideration.