The Georgia House approved a bill last week that authorizes Georgia Power to collect in advance some of the cost to expand a nuclear power facility at its Plant Vogtle site in Burke County, Ga. Meanwhile, a Kentucky House committee approved a bill to lift a 25-year moratorium on nuclear power plants.

The Georgia House voted 107-66 on Thursday to allow Georgia Power to recover $1.6 billion in costs. The bill has already cleared the state Senate and now heads to Gov. Sonny Perdue for his signature.

The bill allows the utility to collect money starting in 2011 for part of the construction costs of plants that are expected to go online in 2017. Georgia Power officials told WSAV News that the collected costs could also help pay interest on the debt incurred as it relates to the plants’ construction. Under the bill, an average residential customer will pay about $1.30 more per month, starting in 2011. By 2017, customers will be paying about $9 more per month.

On March 17, the state’s Public Service Commission is scheduled to take up the issue of whether the two nuclear plants should be built.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Development and Energy Committee of the Kentucky House last week approved a bill that could lift a nuclear power ban instituted in 1984, the Louisville-Courier Journal reported. The state had then said that nuclear plants could not be built until the federal government could determine how to safely dispose of radioactive waste.

Senate Bill 13 was passed by the Natural Resources and Energy Committee in early February, and it was approved by the Senate two weeks ago. The House will now vote of the bill.

Nuclear power is one of seven strategies Kentucky plans to follow to meet its energy needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sources: WSAV News, Louisville-Courier Journal