20 Senators: Defense Authorization Bill Should Include Advanced Nuclear

Murkowski, Booker, Colleagues Send Letter Supporting Nuclear Energy Leadership Act

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., recently led a bipartisan group of 20 Senators in sending a letter to urge the inclusion of S. 903, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), within S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021.

The members’ letter highlights nuclear energy’s contribution to national security. The advanced reactors supported by NELA have significant potential to provide clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy to military bases and remote communities across the country, including in Alaska.

“Nuclear energy provides many benefits, from zero-emission power to high reliability and energy security, but its contribution to national security is often underappreciated,” the Senators wrote. “The Atlantic Council recently estimated nuclear energy’s annual contribution to U.S. national security to be $42 billion. Civilian nuclear energy benefits the Department of Defense through a shared source of both human capital, supply chains, and technology development with the Navy. Commercial nuclear power provides long-term, high-paying career stability for Navy veterans while civilian nuclear energy also provide a high-quality nuclear engineering workforce for the Navy.”

NELA aims to reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy. The bill focuses the Department of Energy on demonstrating advanced reactor concepts, providing fuel for initial advanced nuclear reactors, and developing the nuclear energy workforce.

Signing the letter with Murkowski and Booker were Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Mark Warner, D-Va., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Chris Coons, D-Del., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Read the full text of the letter here.

Murkowski is Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

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