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Bob Meinetz's picture
Nuclear Power Policy Activist Independent

I am a passionate advocate for the environment and nuclear energy. With the threat of climate change, I’ve embarked on a mission to help overcome the fears of nuclear energy. I’ve been active in...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Nov 18, 2020

“Carbon-free nuclear energy is already powering the electric grid at a large scale.  Our bill would help combat climate change by providing incentives to keep safely operating plants online,” said Whitehouse. “We also need to further invest in research to develop a new generation of nuclear power technologies that overcome existing environmental challenges, including by reusing spent nuclear fuel.”

“Nuclear energy is an important piece of the puzzle as we race against the clock to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change,” said Booker. “This bipartisan legislation will help keep our existing fleet of nuclear reactors safely operating, facilitate the development of next generation advanced reactors, and provide authorization for $1B for EPA to clean up legacy pollution from abandoned mines located on Tribal lands.”

The Department of Energy will select industry partners to build two next-generation reactors, such as the molten salt cooled reactor being designed by Terrestrial Energy USA pictured below.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 18, 2020

This coming from a bipartisan group, as well as a group representing diverse states with unique interests (Wyoming, Rhode Island, Idaho, and New Jersey) is a good sign. Having it come about during this lame duck / transition period is curious though-- is that a sign that it's more posturing than in earnest? Or is this something they hope to push through before January when some dynamics may change? 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 18, 2020

"Or is this something they hope to push through before January when some dynamics may change?"

I think that's a good call, Matt. It's always a guess for DC outsiders like me to pull apart the incentives for signing on to a bill like this, but it's been in the works since July. Wyoming has considerable uranium deposits; Idaho stands to benefit by support for Idaho National Laboratory. Booker and Whitehouse have been longtime pro-nuclear advocates, and probably fear attempts by anti-nuclear forces on the far left, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Gas Association, Berkshire-Hathaway, and Bloomberg New Energy to derail it after Biden takes office.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tacit support for nuclear energy in May, however, opened the door to the possibility of wide bipartisan support for advancing nuclear energy. The bill's zero-emission credit may be its most important provision - as a significant financial commitment, it would show other countries the U.S. is willing to back up promises with cash when we rejoin the Paris Agreement.

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