Congress’ clean energy bill passes with major focus on nuclear

The Senate passed a sweeping bill containing many incentives for nuclear power. The Acceleration of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear Deployment for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act it was accepted by 88 votes to 2. An earlier version of the bill also won bipartisan support in the House earlier this year.

These incentives include financial rewards for the first companies to process recycled nuclear waste. The bill would reform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and streamline the regulatory process for new reactors. Following the bill’s passage, US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper said in a statement: “The ADVANCE Act will provide the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with the tools and manpower it needs to effectively review new nuclear technologies while protecting the NRC’s critical safety mission and creation of thousands of jobs”.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey were the two dissenting voices, the latter arguing that the ADVANCE Act made the NRC a facilitator rather than a regulator. “This bill is more about promoting and corporate profiteering than protecting the community,” Markey said.

Environmental groups have reacted strongly both for and against the bill. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) nuclear energy security director Dr. : “Make no mistake: This isn’t about making the reactor licensing process more efficient, it’s about weakening overall safety and security controls, a long-standing industry goal.”

– Matt Smith

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