Back in May, we wrote in support of the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) which had been reintroduced in the Senate with bipartisan support. NELA aimed to offer incentives and set new federal goals for advancing nuclear technology research. This legislation is picking up momentum and an identical companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House last week.
Representatives Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Denver Riggleman (R-VA) co-sponsored the House version of NELA, along with Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Conor Lamb (D-PA), who chairs the Energy Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. The introduction of this bipartisan legislation shows that advanced nuclear energy is drawing new support in both chambers of Congress and will allow the discussion to continue in the House and Senate simultaneously.
NELA would direct the Department of Energy to institute a national strategy for advanced nuclear energy research. The bill would also extend the maximum length of federal power purchase agreements (PPAs) from 10 to 40 years, basically ensuring that any new nuclear project would be able to sell its electricity for at least 40 years. The federal government would be required to enter into at least one such agreement by Dec. 31, 2022.
“As an engineer who operated nuclear reactors on aircraft carriers, I know that ensuring a thriving civilian nuclear industry is vital not only for our economy, but for our national security,” said Rep. Elaine Luria in a statement.
Rep. Luria also points out that nuclear energy is clean and carbon-free, making it a good choice to meet our nations carbon dioxide reduction goals. Nuclear currently provides more than half of all carbon-free power in the U.S.
“This legislation will help advance the development of clean, nuclear energy and makes the necessary investments in the students pursuing jobs in the field,” Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., said in a statement.
NELA would be yet another victory for the nuclear power, which has recently celebrated the passage of two measures to support advanced nuclear research. Enacting this new bill would be the icing on the cake fomenting the renaissance of nuclear power in the U.S.