Senate Committee Takes Up Nuclear Energy Bill Amid Climate Debate
Do you support efforts to improve the U.S. nuclear energy industry?
by Countable | 4.30.19
The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Tuesday to debate legislation that would aim to reestablish the U.S. nuclear energy industry as a global leader.
The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (S. 903), introduced by Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) with the support of 9 Republican and 8 Democratic cosponsors, would aim to facilitate a path to market for advanced nuclear reactors that would be developed through public-private partnerships. It’d also enable the federal government to be an early adopter of advanced nuclear reactor designs.
At the hearing Murkowski noted that while seven U.S. nuclear reactors have been shut down before the end of their useful life since 2013, “China and Russia have realized nuclear energy’s immense potential and are now considered the international leaders in this space. They are deploying their current reactors at rates far beyond the U.S. and are actively demonstrating advanced reactor technologies.”
As this chart from USAFacts shows, the production of nuclear energy in the U.S. has risen from about 3 quadrillion BTUs in 1980 to 8.4 quadrillion BTUs in 2017 ― an amount of energy that eclipsed the output of all individual sources of renewable energy.
Energy consumption overall continued its recent decline in 2017, and for the first time in recent decades U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from transportation outpaced those from transportation as these USAFacts charts show.
A twist of congressional committee hearing scheduling meant that while the hearing about the Nuclear Energy Leadership was happening, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing of its own which focused on drawing down U.S. emissions and highlighted advanced nuclear technologies as part of the effort.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Jelena83)
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