A bill to lift the ban on nuclear power in West Virginia passed the Senate on Tuesday.
Lawmakers voted 24 to 7 to end the ban. West Virginia is one of 13 states that restricts the construction of nuclear power facilities.
The ban was enacted more than 25 years ago at a time when few lawmakers supported any form of energy other than coal.
But as Sen. Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, put it, times have changed.
“I don’t know what the thinking was. I can guess what the thinking was in ‘96,” he said. “But we can’t afford to be protective of any industry at this point.”
Woelfel and other senators noted that Nucor, the steelmaker that is planning to build a plant in Mason County, questioned the ban on nuclear power.
The bill now goes to the House of Delegates.