As the need for clean, reliable energy increases, more lawmakers are turning to America’s largest source of carbon-free power—nuclear energy. While it is among the safest and cleanest sources of energy on the market today, nuclear power has been held back by outdated policies and regulations that have inflated costs and stifled innovation. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is leading the charge to address these challenges through legislative reforms such as the ADVANCE Act.
The ADVANCE Act, which enjoys bipartisan, bicameral support, would reduce timelines for nuclear projects to come online and strengthen American leadership in nuclear energy innovation. The Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which recently passed out of committee, included the Act. Senator Capito recently joined Right Voices to discuss the legislation.
Discussing the benefits of nuclear, Senator Capito explained:
Importantly, reducing barriers for advanced nuclear power—as the ADVANCE Act does—could have several economic benefits to West Virginia and the rest of coal country. A recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center found that 80% of the retiring coal plants evaluated, also known as brownfields, have the basic characteristics that are needed to power small modular reactors. Additionally, 77% of coal plant jobs could be transferred to nuclear power plants with no additional workforce training.
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The ADVANCE Act would speed up the deployment of nuclear on brownfield sites by requiring Congress to reconsider licensing guidelines for nuclear at these locations. The bill would also advance breakthroughs by awarding innovation prizes to companies that create reactors that run on spent nuclear fuel and generate heat for nonelectric applications—like industrial activities. (For a more thorough breakdown of the ADVANCE Act, read The Breakthrough Institute’s analysis here.)
The ADVANCE Act is another instance of, as the Senator put it, “[Republicans] offering commonsense transitional solutions that are going to have the desired results.” When asked if the Senator has seen a shift within the GOP in terms of climate policy, Capito said:
As it stands, the ADVANCE Act could very well become law as Congress deliberates the NDAA. Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s leadership in this effort could unleash America’s nuclear leadership and innovation—helping the U.S. and the world reduce emissions while providing reliable power to consumers.