Companion bills that call for amending the Internal Revenue Code to establish a tax credit to help existing merchant nuclear plants continue operations debuted on Capitol Hill last week.
In the House on June 21, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.) introduced the bipartisan H.R. 4024, dubbed the Zero-Emission Nuclear Power Production Credit Act of 2021. Cosponsors of the legislation include Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.), John Katko (R., N.Y.), Danny Davis (D., Ill.), Anthony Brown (D., Md.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D., Md.), Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.), Mike Doyle (D., Pa.), and Bobby Rush (D., Ill.).
And on June 24, Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) introduced the Senate’s version, S. 2291, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Tom Carper (D., Del.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) joining as cosponsors.
Bill basics: The legislation would make existing merchant nuclear plant owners/operators eligible for the same 1.5 cent/kilowatt hour credit ($15/megawatt hour) already available to wind operators, a press release from Cardin’s office stated.
Current tax law provides a production tax credit for eligible nuclear power facilities only during the first eight years of operations. There is no tax credit for older nuclear plants. The proposed credit, according to the release, would be phased out if market revenues reach 2.5 cents/kilowatt hour ($25/megawatt hour), if greenhouse gas emissions drop 50 percent from 2020 levels, or after 10 years.
A word from the sponsors: “Our bipartisan legislation to combat climate change will allow existing nuclear plants to continue producing the clean, zero-emission energy that our nation needs while supporting thousands of jobs in New Jersey,” Pascrell said. “The Biden administration has made clear that our nation’s nuclear infrastructure is essential to meeting our climate goals. Legislation like this will benefit millions today and billions tomorrow, and I look forward to working with my colleagues toward its passage in the House.”
Cardin commented, “America needs to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, so it is imperative that we keep these reactors operating safely while we continue to work on demand reduction, renewables, energy storage, and transmission grid resiliency. Reducing air pollution and dangerous greenhouse gas pollution is good for the environment, public health, and our economic and our national security.”
Noteworthy: ANS joined 26 other organizations and companies in sending a June 16 letter to Cardin and Pascrell, urging them to support the establishment of a nuclear production tax credit similar to those spurring the deployment of wind and solar.