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Jeff Duncan Outlines Policies to Unleash American Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is scoring some notable milestones. In Georgia, Vogtle 3 and 4 are finished, the first nuclear reactors to be built in the U.S. in some 30 years. On the world stage, leaders at COP28 vowed to triple global nuclear capacity. On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, led by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), has introduced sweeping reforms to the nation’s regulatory system to deploy more nuclear power production. Congressman Duncan recently joined Right Voices to discuss policies to unleash American nuclear power. 

While nuclear power is safe, clean, and reliable, antiquated laws and regulations have hindered its deployment. To address these challenges Rep. Duncan introduced the Atomic Energy Advancement Act. The AEAA, which recently passed the House of Representatives, includes several reforms to drive nuclear forward. These include modernizing the permitting process, directing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to consider the benefits of nuclear energy in its mission, and strengthening international competitiveness through trade and exports. 

>>>READ: Rep. Miller-Meeks Outlines Her Priorities for the Conservative Climate Caucus

Duncan called the AEAA “a multi-faceted, generational atomic energy bill” whose goal was to create a “nuclear leadership component for [the] nation to once again lean into the nuclear space,” before adding that lawmakers must do more to strengthen the supply chain of enriched uranium:

”One thing we have to address…is having a U.S. source, domestic source [of] enriched uranium fuel for nuclear power. We import too much enriched uranium from Russia and we should lessen our reliance on any adversary for something so critical to energy production like [enriched] uranium is. So trying to do that more domestically and stand up an enriched uranium manufacturing process in this country is important.”

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As the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, & Grid Security, Rep. Duncan has explored ways to diversify America’s current supply of enriched uranium. Recently the subcommittee held a hearing on ways to accelerate the recycling of spent nuclear fuel and chart a path toward creating a permanent fuel repository. 

>>>READ: Congress Considers the State of Nuclear Fuel Recycling and Management

In addition to chairing the Energy, Climate, & Grid Security subcommittee, Duncan was one of the original members of the Conservative Climate Caucus. Although he represents what he calls one of the most conservative districts in the U.S., joining the Climate Caucus was an obvious choice. “Whatever position you take on climate, we as conservatives should be able to approach it in a way that supports American energy, being cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable.”

The AEAA now sits in the Senate with the ADVANCE Act, which holds many similarities. Both chambers are hoping to reconcile the two bills to bring it to the president’s desk, where Rep. Duncan is confident it will be signed into law. Rep. Duncan’s leadership in the area could play a pivotal role in bringing the domestic nuclear industry forward.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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