WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legislation released in the U.S. Senate today includes provisions designed to strengthen the role that nuclear energy will play in expanding domestic energy sources, reducing the emission of air pollutants and creating jobs in America. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), supports the Obama administration’s proposal to expand the federal loan guarantee program for nuclear energy development, proposes measures to capitalize on the efficiencies of the new reactor licensing process, and provides tax incentives to accelerate capital investment in new nuclear plants and manufacturing credits to restore America’s ability to manufacture components and other equipment needed to build new nuclear energy facilities. The following comments on the proposed legislation are from the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Marvin Fertel:
“The nuclear-related provisions of this legislation provide a solid platform for the expansion of nuclear energy to meet our electricity needs, create thousands of jobs and help achieve the desired reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. When you consider the scale of investment our country must make over the next 20 years to meet rising electricity demand and upgrade our electric grid (in excess of $1.5 trillion), this legislation will help unlock investment needed to stimulate construction of carbon-free nuclear power plants.
“All mainstream analyses of the climate change issue show that reducing carbon emissions will require a portfolio of technologies, that nuclear energy must be part of the portfolio, and that major expansion of nuclear energy is essential.
“I applaud Senators Kerry and Lieberman for their collaborative work on this legislation and for seeking input from a variety of interested parties to craft this proposal. While he is not a part of today’s announcement by Senators Kerry and Lieberman, Senator Graham’s committed work to recognize the value of nuclear energy and advance this issue cannot be overlooked and we thank him for his efforts. We believe there is solid consensus on the need for, and the value of, the nuclear energy provisions in this proposal.
“Increased use of nuclear energy will strengthen U.S. energy security, foster long-term economic growth through direct employment and the availability of reliable, low-cost electricity, and help achieve our nation’s ambitious environmental goals.”