US Senate committee passes bill promoting advanced reactors

17 July 2019

A bill supporting advanced nuclear reactors was among 22 pieces of energy-related legislation approved by the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday. 

Lisa Murkowski (Image: US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee)

The bill authorises the federal government to enter into 40-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with nuclear power companies, as opposed to the ten-year agreements that were previously authorised.

"I’m excited to be moving legislation related to nuclear energy, mineral security, energy efficiency, and carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration out of committee," the committee’s chairwoman, Lisa Murkowski, said.

"These measures will help develop innovative technologies, responsibly reduce our energy and water consumption and protect our economy and national security."

Ranking Member Joe Manchin said he was proud of the bipartisan work done in the committee yesterday. "I have always supported an all-of-the-above energy strategy and I have also been resolute that climate change is real and this committee has a responsibility to work toward all-of-the above climate solutions. The bills we passed today move us toward cleaner energy solutions," he said.

Murkowski highlighted a few of the measures on the agenda of yesterday’s meeting, including S. 903, her Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, which "aims to restore US leadership" in the civil nuclear industry by helping to develop "a range of advanced reactors technologies that are clean, safe and reliable".

A bipartisan group of 15 senators introduced a bill in March to instate NELA, which would offer incentives and set federal goals for advanced nuclear energy. A smaller group of senators originally introduced the bill in September 2018, but the Congressional session ended before the Senate voted on it. NELA aims to boost US nuclear energy innovation by establishing public-private partnerships between federal government, leading research institutions and industry innovators.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News