Nuclear package on brink of becoming law

By Nico Portuondo | 06/17/2024 06:43 AM EDT

The Senate could vote this week on legislation that supporters hope will jump-start the industry.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), a senior Energy and Commerce Committee member, has helped shepherd a nuclear package through Congress. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The Senate is poised to vote this week on a bipartisan nuclear energy package, setting the stage for Congress to send its first major climate and energy legislation to the president’s desk since the Inflation Reduction Act.

The “Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act,” a compromise agreement between two committees — House Energy and Commerce and Senate Environment and Public Works — would implement broad changes at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure the next generation of nuclear reactors get off the ground.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Thursday that he had reached a bipartisan agreement to debate and vote on S. 870, the “Fire Grants and Safety Act,” a bill to reauthorize federal firefighter programs that includes the nuclear package.


The potential for nuclear energy projects to deliver substantial zero-carbon, baseload power has Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) and ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the bill’s sponsors, pitching the legislation as a breakthrough for clean energy.