WASHINGTON—An amendment to comprehensive Senate legislation renewing the Price-Anderson Act received overwhelming bi-partisan support in a vote on the Senate floor earlier today. Sponsored by Senators George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Bob Smith (R-N.H.), the amendment was approved by a 78-21 vote. Below is a statement from John Kane, NEI senior vice president of governmental affairs.
"We congratulate the U.S. Senate for its broad support in reauthorizing the Price-Anderson Act. This vote is a strong affirmation that the law has provided a successful framework since 1957 that would provide swift compensation in public liability claims in the event of a nuclear incident.
"It is very gratifying to see such strong support on an important energy policy issue. Solid Republican support and two-thirds of all Democratic senators combined to make this a convincing vote. Senators Voinovich, Bingaman and Smith demonstrated this by acting as the original sponsors of the amendment.
"Congress has renewed the Price-Anderson Act three times in the law's 45-year history for a simple reason: it's a pro-consumer bill that was designed with the public interest in mind by eliminating delays entailed in ordinary court cases. The Price-Anderson law also provides a framework that allows the federal government to hire private contractors who have the expertise to safely manage federal nuclear facilities and perform important environmental restoration work at federal weapons facilities.
"For the commercial nuclear power industry, the Price-Anderson Act provides a completely self-funding insurance framework totaling $9.5 billion. This industry insurance pool does not require a single penny of taxpayer money. In fact, since the law's inception, no federal funds have been used to reimburse commercial nuclear liability claims, and private insurers and nuclear utilities have paid all claims and costs to date. The nuclear industry is unique in that the entire industry takes financial responsibility for each of its members.
"Renewing Price-Anderson gives a clear signal to the nuclear industry that Congress recognizes the safe, reliable performance of the nation's 103 nuclear plants and paves the way for new nuclear power plants to meet electricity demand in the future without producing any air pollutants. With the Price-Anderson authorization due to expire on August 1, we encourage Congress to find the proper venue to translate its support for this amendment into law."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.