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Three Senators have proposed an amendment to tax credits to boost the competitiveness of nuclear power, Reuters reports, adding that the proposal is part of a wider energy reform bill that was voted on yesterday in the Senate.
"We're in danger of seeing the premature closing of the nuclear reactors in this country," one of the sponsors of the nuclear bill, Democrat Ben Cardin, said.
Cardin's fellow Senators have yet to vote on the bill, which will be after it is refined.
Nuclear energy is an emission-free form of electricity generation, but it has a bad reputation because of devastating—although extremely rare—accidents such as the Chernobyl meltdown and the Fukushima disaster.
Some environmentalist groups do not consider nuclear power clean at all. Others do see a place for it in the emission-free vision of the future. The latter include none other than the International Energy Agency itself.
"Without policy changes, advanced economies could lose 25% of their nuclear capacity by 2025 and as much as two-thirds of it by 2040," the agency warned in 2019. As a result of this, the IEA went on to say, the planet could suffer as much as 4 billion tons of carbon dioxide in additional emissions.
In the United States, nuclear power plants have suffered not just bad reputation but intense competition from cheap, abundant gas and renewables, which do not require the steep upfront investment that a nuclear power plant requires.
The Biden administration has signaled a favorable position on nuclear power, however, which means there is a chance for this form of energy to lose some of its stigma. Indeed, nuclear is part of the American Jobs Plan.
"Among broader energy sector investments, the plan would support the development and demonstration of advanced nuclear energy, a clean energy technology critical not only for meeting mid-century climate goals but for ensuring a more resilient energy infrastructure in the decades to come," said the executive director of the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, Judi Greenwald, at the time.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com