It has been said that the nuclear provisions in the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act are strong enough to be stand-alone bills. The IRA contains various tax incentives for nuclear, to the point where it seems that few in Congress are questioning the importance of nuclear energy to the nation’s power grid and climate goals.
Constellation Energy, owner and operator of the nation’s largest reactor fleet, will ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating licenses of the Clinton and Dresden reactors by 20 years, the company announced Monday, adding that it expects to file license applications with the agency in 2024.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee met yesterday to consider the nomination of Kathryn Huff to head the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). President Biden selected Huff to fill the top spot at NE in January.
President Biden is expected to sign the recently passed $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which provides support for both existing and advanced nuclear, on Monday. However, the fate of its legislative companion, the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act—the other major component in the president’s ambitious domestic agenda—is far from certain.
Exelon, owner and operator of the nation’s largest nuclear reactor fleet, has made clear its position on the massive infrastructure and social spending bills that federal lawmakers, at this writing, continue to haggle over.
“As world leaders convene in Glasgow for COP26 to address the climate crisis, the need for America to take action has never been more urgent,” said Chris Crane, Exelon’s president and chief executive officer, on Monday. “The bipartisan infrastructure agreement and the policy framework for Build Back Better legislation will make us more competitive globally, spur innovation and support good-paying jobs, protect current and future generations from the worst impacts of climate change, and cement America’s leadership on one of the most pressing challenges—and opportunities—of our time. The time to act is now, and we encourage lawmakers to pass these critical policies into law.”
Last week, Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) and Mike Doyle (D., Pa.) introduced legislation that would establish a financial credit program for economically challenged nuclear power plants and would authorize funding for “nuclear closure communities.”
The Preserving Existing Nuclear Energy Generation Act (H.R. 4960) is the House companion to certain provisions in a Senate proposal that was reported favorably by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on July 14 and was subsequently included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan package that the Senate passed earlier this week via a 69–30 vote.
Advocacy group Nuclear Matters is urging members of the nuclear community to send a pre-drafted letter to their representatives on Capitol Hill in support of companion bills H.R. 4024 and S. 2291, the Zero-Emission Nuclear Power Production Credit Act of 2021. The legislation calls for amending the Internal Revenue Code to establish a tax credit to help existing merchant nuclear plants continue operations.
New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group has announced its intention to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, shaving two decades off its previously announced target date of 2050. PSEG is owner of the Hope Creek nuclear plant and is co-owner, with Exelon, of the Salem plant.
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.
The Biden administration has indicated to lawmakers that it supports federal subsidies for struggling nuclear power plants, Reuters reported this morning, citing sources familiar with the discussions.
The subsidies would be in the form of production tax credits, according to the report, and would likely become part of the president’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.