EPW Committee Advances Bipartisan Nuclear Energy Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee voted to advance legislation introduced by Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and a bipartisan group of their colleagues that would help position the United States as the undisputed international leader for nuclear energy technologies.

The Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act of 2023, which Carper, Capito, and Whitehouse led the introduction of in March, passed out of the EPW Committee by a vote of 16-3.

“Investing in clean, reliable nuclear energy is essential to meeting our climate goals and advancing our economic and national security interests,” said Chairman Carper. “The ADVANCE Act will help provide the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with the tools and resources needed to ensure that the United States remains a world leader in safely deploying nuclear energy for decades to come. I applaud Senators Capito and Whitehouse, as well as our colleagues on the Environment and Public Works Committee for advancing this bipartisan nuclear legislation today. In addition, I look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to pass this legislation and send it to the President’s desk.”

Cosponsors of Carper, Capito, and Whitehouse’s bill include Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“From both a national security and energy independence standpoint, America has everything to gain from being the world’s leader in nuclear energy, and today we took an important step forward in achieving that goal,” said Ranking Member Capito. “This legislation gives a major boost to a clean, reliable power generation source, and provides the tools needed for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to facilitate the development and deployment of new technologies here in the United States. I’m proud of the work that went into the ADVANCE Act and that the EPW Committee continues to demonstrate we can successfully collaborate in addressing critical issues like nuclear energy in a bipartisan way.”

“Investing in the next generation of nuclear energy will help lower carbon emissions and head off threats to our national and energy security,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Thanks to Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito for working with me on this bipartisan effort to ensure the next generation of nuclear technology can be safely regulated, licensed, and competitively developed here in America, boosting our nation’s longstanding global leadership on nuclear energy.”

“Wyoming has played a key role in making our nation a global energy giant, including in the nuclear industry by leading the nation in uranium production,” said Senator Lummis. “We need to expand this reliable energy source, and strengthen and advance our nation’s nuclear energy capabilities. I’m thrilled the EPW Committee advanced this important legislation.”

“Today’s passage of this legislation by the Senate EPW Committee marks a critical milestone in our journey towards global leadership in nuclear energy technologies,” said Senator Booker. “Advanced nuclear energy has a critical role to play as we race against the clock to reduce carbon emissions. By supporting the development and deployment of these technologies, we can address climate change, enhance our energy security, and create new economic opportunities.”

“The United States must re-establish its historic global leadership in nuclear energy. Right now Russia and China are using nuclear energy to promote their interests and threaten the world. The free world is desperate for an alternative. The ADVANCE Act improves our energy security and grows the economy. It gives the world an American-made nuclear option,” said Senator Barrasso.

“The ADVANCE Act will play a critical role in boosting our nuclear energy capabilities, allowing the United States to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change while becoming more energy independent,” said Senator Warner. “I am looking forward to passing this bipartisan legislation to maintain our status as a global leader in nuclear energy development.”

“The ADVANCE Act will help ensure American energy independence and security,” said Senator Ricketts. “It will facilitate America’s nuclear leadership, modernize current technology, and improve the environment. This legislation will benefit operating reactors like Nebraska’s own Cooper Nuclear Station and assist with decommissioning of reactors like Fort Calhoun.”

“I’m glad to see the bipartisan ADVANCE Act pass out of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee today,” said Senator Coons. “Nuclear power holds tremendous promise to deliver clean energy at scale while bolstering our energy security, reducing emissions, and supporting economic development, and this legislation will help the United States seize our opportunity to assert our global leadership in this field.”

“Idaho is home to the world-leading Idaho National Laboratory, a facility responsible for promoting international nuclear competitiveness through research, innovation and workforce development,” said Senator Crapo. “The ADVANCE Act shows bipartisan support for continuing our investment in nuclear energy—strengthening national security, diversifying our energy portfolio and growing the economy.”

“Carbon-free energy solutions for America and the world include nuclear energy. The more we can do to improve safety and encourage innovation of next-generation technology, the better it is for our communities and public health, our environment and economy,” said Senator Cardin.

“With the ADVANCE Act’s passage out of committee, we are one step closer to spurring the development and deployment of advanced nuclear technologies,” said Senator Risch. “Idaho’s own INL has long been a leader in nuclear research, and with this bill, we can further unlock nuclear’s vast clean energy potential.”



The ADVANCE Act would:


·        Facilitate American Nuclear Leadership by:

o   Empowering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to lead in international forums to develop regulations for advanced nuclear reactors.

o   Establishing a joint Commerce Department and Energy Department initiative to facilitate outreach to nations that are seeking to develop advanced nuclear energy programs.

·        Develop and Deploy New Nuclear Technologies by:

o   Reducing regulatory costs for companies seeking to license advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

o   Creating a prize to incentivize the successful deployment of next-generation nuclear reactor technologies.

o   Requiring the NRC to develop a pathway to enable the timely licensing of nuclear facilities at brownfield sites.

·        Preserve Existing Nuclear Energy by:

o   Modernizing outdated rules that restrict international investment.

o   Extending a long-established, indemnification policy necessary to enable the continued operation of today’s reactors and give certainty for capital investments in building new reactors.

·        Strengthen America’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain Infrastructure by:

o   Directing the NRC to establish an initiative to enhance preparedness to qualify and license advanced nuclear fuels.

o   The bill identifies modern manufacturing techniques to build nuclear reactors better, faster, cheaper, and smarter.

·        Authorize funds for Environmental Cleanup Programs by:

o   Authorizing funding to assist in cleaning up legacy abandoned mining sites on Tribal lands.

·        Improve Commission Efficiency by:

o   Providing the NRC Chair the tools to hire and retain highly specialized staff and exceptionally well-qualified individuals to successfully and safely review and approve advanced nuclear reactor licenses. This is essential with the NRC staff under attrition pressure due to an aging workforce.

o   Requiring the NRC to periodically review and assess performance metrics and milestone schedules to ensure licensing can be completed on an efficient schedule.


Full text of the ADVANCE Act (S.1111) as passed out of committee can be found here.

A section-by-section can be found here.

A handout on the legislation can be found here.

A letter of support from additional coalitions can be found here.

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