US Senate Passes Bill to Fast-Track Nuclear Energy Expansion with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

By Madz Dizon

Jun 20, 2024 01:57 AM EDT

US Senate Passes Bill to Fast-Track Nuclear Energy Expansion with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support
An employee leaves in his car from the nuclear plant on Three Mile Island, with the operational plant run by Exelon Generation on the right, in Middletown, Pennsylvania on March 26, 2019.

The US Senate passed a bill on Tuesday (June 18) that aims to expedite the expansion of nuclear energy capacity. The bill includes measures to streamline permitting processes and introduce incentives for the development of advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

Bipartisan Support for Nuclear Power Expansion

Expanding nuclear power enjoys widespread support from both sides of the political spectrum. 

According to Reuters, Democrats recognize its importance in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change, while Republicans see it as a means to guarantee a stable electricity supply and stimulate job growth.

The bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives and is now awaiting President Joe Biden's signature to become law. The Senate voted in favor of it with an overwhelming majority of 88-2.

The bill has the potential to be advantageous for companies such as TerraPower, which is currently facing challenges in obtaining a crucial permit for their $4 billion Natrium reactor project in Wyoming, located on the premises of a former coal plant.

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New Bill Boosts US Nuclear Tech Abroad Amid Global Competition

The bill aims to reduce costs for developers by simplifying the permitting process, which includes reducing fees and expediting approval times. Additionally, it encourages the development of innovative projects such as small modular nuclear reactors.

Additionally, it encourages the deployment of cutting-edge American nuclear technologies abroad, as the United States vies with Russia and China for supremacy in global nuclear energy, CNN reported.

However, the bill could also be advantageous for large, conventional nuclear reactors, as they currently comprise the entire US fleet. 

According to the utility, Georgia Power has recently added two new large reactors to its power generation capacity. 

These reactors, known as Vogtle Plant units 3 and 4, are now the largest clean energy generator in the nation. These were the only large reactors constructed in the US in the past three decades.

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