Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) today announced the introduction of the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, a bipartisan bill that would encourage further development of advanced nuclear energy programs. Such programs are poised to create high-quality jobs, strengthen national security, reduce foreign energy dependence, and promote emissions-free energy.
“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,” Congresswoman Luria said. “Nuclear energy must be part of any solution to transitioning to a clean energy future because nuclear power provides over 55% of our carbon-free energy. That’s why I’m proud to reach across the aisle and introduce this critical bipartisan bill.”
Original cosponsors include Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA-05), Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17), and Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01).
“I am proud to be a lead cosponsor of the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act that will be introduced in the House of Representatives. Nuclear energy is an important part of our nation’s energy security apparatus,”Congressman Riggleman said. “This bill will help position the United States as a global energy leader in a responsible and bipartisan way and break down barriers to the development necessary to achieve that goal.”
“Investing in nuclear energy is critical to maintaining the reliability of our electric grid and ensuring that we have a diverse portfolio of clean, reliable energy generation,” Congressman Lamb said. “This bill will strengthen our economy and our national security by ensuring that nuclear remains a critical component of our clean energy technology future.”
“We need an all-the-above energy strategy, and nuclear energy is an important component of that. This legislation will help advance the development of clean, nuclear energy and makes the necessary investments in the students pursing jobs in the field,” Congressman Wittman said. “I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan bill that helps put the United States on a path to energy independence.”
The bill has seven key sections designed to jumpstart innovation in advanced nuclear energy:
- Establishing a nationwide strategy for nuclear science and engineering research and development
- Providing for at least two advanced nuclear reactor demonstration projects, to be completed by the end of 2025
- Revising federal energy contracting authority so that the government can enter into Power Purchase Agreements for up to 40 years, better reflecting the length of time that nuclear power offers a return on investment
- Starting a pilot program for a long-term nuclear Power Purchase Agreement featuring breakthrough, first-of-its-kind nuclear technology
- Requiring the Department of Energy to provide a source for fast-neutron research, which will be key for testing advanced nuclear concepts
- Creating a program to begin supplying reactors with High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU), fuel which will be needed for many advanced reactor designs
- Establishing a University Nuclear Leadership Program to provide scholarships and funding for students pursuing studies in nuclear science.
The bill is a companion to an identical bill (S. 903) introduced in the Senate by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).