Senate Passes Major Pro-Nuclear Bill, Sends To Biden’s Desk

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The Senate passed a major piece of pro-nuclear energy legislation on Tuesday, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The legislature’s upper chamber passed the Fire Grants and Safety Act — a bill containing the text of the pro-nuclear ADVANCE Act — by a strong 88-2 bipartisan vote. The bill represents one of the most significant efforts undertaken in recent years by Congress to spur the country’s nuclear energy infrastructure and capacity, as well as a rare moment of consensus among both Democrats and Republicans on energy policy through Biden’s first term in office.

If Biden enacts the bill, which has already passed the House, it will be a tool for simplifying the permitting process for advanced nuclear reactors, refine the process for exporting certain nuclear power technologies abroad, augment the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) staff, facilitate advancement of nuclear fusion and related technologies and more, according to its text. (RELATED: Enviros Cheered New York For Shutting Down Huge Nuke Plant. Then Emissions Jumped)

“Today, we sent the ADVANCE Act to the president’s desk because Congress worked together to recognize the importance of nuclear energy to America’s future and got the job done,” Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a key player in negotiations, said of the bill’s passage. “This bipartisan piece of legislation will encourage more innovation and investment in nuclear technologies right here on our shores. It also directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to more efficiently carry out its important regulatory mission and helps redevelop conventional energy sites for future nuclear energy projects.”

Nuclear energy is emissions-free and reliable, meaning that it is a sensible option for Republicans, many of whom are strongly against Biden’s $1 trillion-plus climate agenda, and Democrats, who are mostly opposed to significantly expanding reliance on other reliable fuel sources such as coal or natural gas.

However, despite its advantages, the technology has struggled to grow much in the U.S. over the past several decades due in part to high costs, a burdensome regulatory environment, onerous permitting and fears from some corners of the public about the potential for a nuclear disaster, as energy policy experts previously explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“I urge President Biden to quickly sign this historic nuclear energy policy reform into law,” Republican South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, another key player in crafting the bill and subsequent negotiations, said of its passage. “With the President’s signature, we will be safeguarding our energy security and our national security.”

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