A Montana Senate committee last week passed a joint resolution calling for the creation of a legislative panel to study the feasibility of replacing the coal-fired units at the state’s Colstrip power plant with advanced small modular reactors.Two of Colstrip’s four coal boilers were permanently closed in January 2020, and most energy-sector observers expect the remaining two units to be retired within the next few years, given coal’s declining prospects in states such as Washington, which has passed legislation banning utilities from using coal power after 2025.The resolution, known as SJ3, also calls on the panel to evaluate current Montana regulations that need revision in order to enable the construction and operation of advanced nuclear reactors. The study would need to be concluded before September 15, 2022.

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