Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Boost US Nuclear Energy Industry
On September 6, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Cory Booker, D-N.J., James Risch, R-Idaho, Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Chris Coons, D-Del. introduced legislation which aims to “boost nuclear energy innovation and ensure advanced reactors can provide clean, safe, affordable, and reliable power to meet national and global energy needs.” The legislation is officially titled the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act and is meant to help the US nuclear power industry compete with China’s and Russia’s increasing nuclear energy development. This bill would allow for long-term public-private partnerships between research institutions and the federal government and extends the maximum length of federal power purchase agreements from 10 years to 40. The bill’s full text can be found here and a summary can be found here.
When describing the legislation, Senator Murkowski, Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee stated that “Nuclear power provides clean, safe, efficient, flexible, and reliable power to American families and businesses, but we have only scratched the surface of its immense potential…Our bipartisan bill will help rejuvenate the U.S. nuclear industry by providing the tools, resources, and partnerships necessary to drive innovation in advanced reactors. I thank my colleagues for joining me in sponsoring this timely measure to create American jobs and restore our global leadership on nuclear technologies.” Please see here for the press release and more statements from the bill’s cosponsors.
Source: Senator Murkowski’s Office
MIT Publishes Study on the Future of Nuclear Energy
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative published a report titled “The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World” which argues that trying to produce a low-carbon economy without nuclear reactors would cost two to four times as much as one with nuclear reactors. The report explains how nuclear energy’s future role in the US is uncertain because of increasing costs, spent fuel disposal and concerns about safety and nuclear weapon proliferation. The report also states that “without design standardization and innovations in construction approaches, we do not believe the inherent technological features of any of the advanced reactors will produce the level of cost reductions needed to make nuclear electricity competitive with other generation options.” Opportunities remain for the nuclear power sector however, authors of the report argue, as there is now a heightened awareness of the risks of climate change and the interest of private investors to invest in advanced reactor technologies. The study focuses on opportunities for nuclear energy, nuclear power plant costs, an advanced reactor technology evaluation, nuclear industry business models and policies, and nuclear reactor safety regulation and licensing.
Source: New Atlas
Article Highlights Japan’s Intense Weather
The Washington Post published an article this week highlighting Japan’s intense weather events that have occurred over the summer. The author describes how Japan has “faced an onslaught of natural disasters this year” including a 6.1-magnitude Osaka earthquake in June, floods in west Japan and record heat across the country in July, and most recently Typhoon Jebi plus a 6.7-magnitude Hokkaido earthquake. These natural disasters are an important reminder of why Japan must continue to promote carbon-free nuclear energy rather than fossil fuels in order to meet its clean energy goals.
Source: The Washington Post