Bipartisan Senate effort reintroduces legislation to improve U.S. nuclear energy sector

Seeking to maintain and grow the U.S. energy sector, its infrastructure, and supply chains while reducing carbon emissions, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA) last week.

Sponsors of the new incarnation of the bill include U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Mike Crapo (R-ID). Together, they seek to, among other things, push America beach to the top of international competition in the nuclear arena, advance the nuclear technologies needed to make that happen, maintain existing nuclear energy capabilities and modernize nuclear supply chain infrastructure.

“It’s important that we continue to position the United States as a global energy leader, and that requires us to take full advantage of all sources of America’s energy potential,” Capito said. “Along with our nation’s coal and natural gas resources, nuclear power can provide critical clean and reliable electricity needed to power our homes and businesses. I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this important legislation that will help preserve and expand our use of nuclear energy, which will create jobs and strengthen our energy and national security.”

ANIA would give the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) the power to start a process in international forums to create regulations governing advanced nuclear reactor designs and deny the importation of Russian nuclear fuel due to national security concerns. The NRC would also be required to identify and resolve regulatory barriers to the rollout of advanced, emissions cutting nuclear technologies.

Further, a prize would be created to incentivize licensing of next generation nuclear technologies and fuels. A targeted credit program could be used to preserve at-risk nuclear plants and rule language revamped to remove restrictions on nuclear energy investment. Under ANIA, the government would also tout modern manufacturing techniques to build better, faster, and cheaper nuclear reactors for the future.

“Nuclear energy has an important role to play as we race against the clock to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change,” Booker said. “The American Nuclear Infrastructure Act will facilitate the development of the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors, help keep our existing fleet of reactors safely operating, and provide critical funding to clean up legacy pollution from abandoned mines located on Tribal lands.”

Chris Galford

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