Senators reintroduce bill aimed at boosting nuclear power

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators on March 27 reintroduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), legislation that aims to boost nuclear energy innovation and reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy.

The Republican senators who reintroduced the bill are Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, James Risch and Mike Crapo of Idaho, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

The Democratic senators who signed on to the bill are Cory Booker, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Chris Coons, D-Del., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

A news release from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Republicans said that NELA will help facilitate the path to market for advanced reactors by allowing the federal government to be an early adopter of commercialized technologies; providing for needed scientific research facilities; demonstrating advanced reactor concepts; breaking down fuel availability barriers when the market cannot; and training the next generation of nuclear scientists.

The bill contains several sections including:

  • Authorization of Long-Term Power Purchase Agreements;
  • Long-Term Nuclear Power Purchase Agreement Pilot Program;
  • Advanced Nuclear Reactor Research and Development Goals;
  • Nuclear Energy Strategic Plan;
  • Versatile, Reactor-Based Fast Neutron Source;
  • Advanced Nuclear Fuel Security Programs; and a
  • University Nuclear Leadership Program.

Additional details on the sections of the bill are available here.

UAMPS pleased to see NELA reintroduced

“UAMPS is pleased to see NELA reintroduced and enthusiastically supports it,” said Michael Squires, Government Affairs Director for UAMPS, a public power agency that provides electricity at wholesale to more than 40 community-owned electric utilities in the Intermountain West.

UAMPS is working with NuScale Power on a project that involves the installation of 12 small modular reactors in Idaho.

Squires said that NELA “will facilitate a pathway to commercialize advanced reactor technology in the United States and complement the work that UAMPS and NuScale Power are engaged in as part of UAMPS’ Carbon Free Power Project. We are excited to see the broad bipartisan group of cosponsors who all recognize that advanced nuclear technology coupled with renewables must be the cornerstone to any strategy to decarbonize the electric sector.”