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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2011
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

Bipartisan Energy Legislation Includes Provisions to Expand Use of Nuclear Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legislation that would accelerate investment in low-carbon energy technologies, including new nuclear power plants, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday by four lawmakers who formed the Bipartisan Energy Working Group. They are Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Tim Walz (D-MN). Provisions in the Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act would authorize $50 billion in federal loan guarantees for electric generating technologies “to provide low carbon diversification for America’s electric grid,” and would establish a $110 billion fund that can be used in part “to assist in reprocessing and recycling” used nuclear fuel. The Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, Alex Flint, made the following comments on the legislation:

“The nuclear energy industry welcomes and appreciates the strong bipartisan support shown for nuclear energy in this legislative proposal. Construction of new nuclear power plants, which federal loan guarantees would help bring about, will enhance our nation’s energy security, improve our air quality, help fuel our economic growth, and directly create thousands of high-paying, long-term jobs.

“An increase in loan guarantee volume as our economy rebounds will raise the number of new nuclear plant projects that advance beyond the planning stage over the course of this decade. Operation of new, low-carbon nuclear energy facilities will help meet rising electricity demand from an energy source that has proven its ability to reliably generate large amounts of electricity at affordable rates.

“Loan guarantees are designed to boost investor confidence and allow worthy projects to move ahead with debt financing on more reasonable terms that ultimately will lower the overall cost of electricity generated by those projects.

“The legislation’s provisions concerning used nuclear fuel also are beneficial. NEI advocates a three-pronged used fuel management strategy that encompasses research and development of advanced recycling technologies, interim storage of used nuclear fuel in a small number of volunteer communities, and development of a permanent, state-of-the-art disposal facility.

“NEI looks forward to working with members of Congress to bring about enactment of these or similar provisions that will help achieve a brighter, more secure future for our nation.”