Spending package would extend nuclear insurance backstop

By Andres Picon | 03/22/2024 06:45 AM EDT

An extension of the Price-Anderson Act would make sure nuclear energy developers continue to receive liability support.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) at the Capitol in March. Carper on Thursday cheered a provision in fiscal 2024 spending legislation on nuclear energy. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The fiscal 2024 spending package released Thursday proposes to prolong and expand a critical lifeline for the domestic nuclear energy industry.

Tucked into the six-bill minibus is a 40-year extension of the Price-Anderson Act, a law passed in 1957 that requires federal regulators to limit financial liabilities for operators of nuclear reactors in the event of a dangerous nuclear incident.

Without the extension, that liability protection would expire at the end of next year. The provision would also increase the amount of indemnity the Department of Energy would provide for nuclear incidents outside of the United States from up to $500 million to up to $2 billion.


“For more than six decades, the Price-Anderson Act has provided the necessary certainty to enable the expansion of carbon-free nuclear energy, which now provides about 20 percent of America’s electricity and nearly half of America’s clean energy,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) and ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).