Biden signs bill bolstering nuclear power

Biden signs bill bolstering nuclear power

President Biden signed a bipartisan bill Tuesday aimed at bolstering the nation’s nuclear power in what supporters describe as a historic win for the sector.

The nuclear package is expected to speed up the timeline for licensing new nuclear reactors and cut fees that companies have to pay to do so.

It also requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to put together a report that considers ways to simplify and shorten the environmental review process for such reactors.

Supporters say the legislation is a big deal for the nuclear power sector, and will help bring more of the climate-friendly, albeit controversial, power source online.

It was combined with another bill that reauthorizes the U.S. Fire Administration and grant programs for firefighters, which was also signed into law.

Biden, in a social media post, announced he signed the legislation, known as the ADVANCE Act, calling saying it would help provide “clean nuclear power and good union jobs.”

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said in a joint statement that Biden signed the bill into law.

“Today is a momentous day for our climate and America’s clean energy future,” said Carper, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in a written statement. “This bipartisan law will strengthen our energy and national security, lower greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of new jobs, while ensuring the continued safety of this zero-emissions energy source.”

However, the bill was not without its critics, who have raised concerns about bolstering nuclear power because of potential safety issues and challenges related to nuclear waste.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) described the legislation as containing “poison pills that undermine nuclear safety” in a statement to The Hill last month.

Some critics have also raised concerns about a provision that would change the mission of the  Nuclear Regulatory Commission to prevent it from “unnecessarily” limiting nuclear power.

Updated 5:28 p.m. ET.

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