Nuclear infrastructure bill moves forward in Senate

December 4, 2020, 12:04PMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA)—a bipartisan bill introduced just over two weeks ago in the Senate, with the goal of reestablishing U.S. leadership in nuclear energy—is now headed for the Senate floor. The legislation was advanced at a December 2 business meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee by a vote of 16 to 5.

While the bill has been placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar, it is unclear at this writing whether any further action on the measure will be taken prior to the adjournment of the current Congress.

All 11 GOP members of the committee voted in favor of the bill, along with five Democrat members. Four Democrats voted against it, as did Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

ANIA was introduced on November 16 by Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), the EPW chairman. Cosponsors include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), and Cory Booker (D., N.J.).

What they’re saying: In remarks delivered at the EPW meeting, Barrasso said, “The American Nuclear Infrastructure Act will promote U.S. international leadership, preserve America’s nuclear fuel supply chain, [and] prevent more carbon emissions from entering our atmosphere, and it will protect our economic, our energy, and our national security. Advanced nuclear technologies will be safer, smaller, and more flexible. These designs will provide additional reliable, clean electricity in addition to the nuclear power that is available today.”

Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), ranking member of the EPW, also commented on ANIA at the meeting, stating, “During our committee hearing on this legislation in August, I shared some of my reservations about the bill, specifically its proposed changes to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s permitting process. . . . For six months, my staff has been working with Chairman Barrasso’s staff to address those concerns. Today, I am happy to say that our substitute amendment resolves them. I thank Chairman Barrasso and his staff for working with my staff. Supporting nuclear energy and advanced nuclear technologies is a high priority for me, so I am grateful for the chairman’s willingness to help us ‘get to yes’ on this legislation.”

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