WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate designates nuclear energy as “clean energy,” increases loan-guarantee volume for the Department of Energy’s Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program to $54 billion, accelerates development of small modular reactors and establishes an independent government corporation to assume management of the nation’s used nuclear fuel inventory. The legislative proposal, announced today by Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, also provides tax incentives to accelerate investment in new nuclear power plants and manufacturing credits to improve America’s ability to manufacture components and other equipment needed to build new nuclear energy facilities. Following is a statement from Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president of governmental affairs, on the legislation.
“Senator Voinovich’s legislation is a timely, well-crafted contribution to the energy policy deliberations that urgently need resolution. His legislation recognizes the role that nuclear energy should have in expanding our nation’s non-emitting electricity generation while simultaneously creating tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, helping to achieve desired greenhouse gas reductions, and strengthening our energy security.“The bill builds upon the important work of Senators (John) Kerry and (Joseph) Lieberman this year and provides additional evidence that Congress is in synch with the administration in the role nuclear energy should play as part of a diverse portfolio of clean-energy technologies. For example, Senator Voinovich’s proposal fully supports the expansion of the federal loan guarantee program for new nuclear energy facilities that President Obama is seeking in his budget request for fiscal 2011.“The bill provides a common sense approach to developing and building new small reactor designs that can be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the end of this decade. And in advancing the formation of a federal corporation to oversee the disposition of the nation’s used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, the bill offers a stable, sustainable path forward regarding used fuel management.“The nuclear industry greatly appreciates Senator Voinovich’s leadership in championing a public-private partnership between government and industry to increase use of nuclear energy, foster long-term economic growth, and help achieve our nation’s ambitious environmental goals.”