Murkowski: Our Nation Must Lead on Nuclear Energy

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today conducted oversight of the innovation taking place in the nation’s advanced nuclear industry. Murkowski highlighted a range of emerging technologies, the need to remove barriers to their domestic deployment, and the importance of the United States remaining the global leader on nuclear energy.

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“We are entering a new era for nuclear power. The opportunity for innovation in nuclear technologies has not been this great since the 1960s,” Murkowski said. “Despite the many difficult challenges associated with full deployment – technical, financial, bureaucratic, and license-related – there is unprecedented interest from both the private and public sectors.”

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, highlighted nuclear power as a safe, reliable, emissions-free source of baseload power. Noting that nuclear power today provides 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, including 63 percent of our emissions-free electricity, Murkowski argued that it must remain a strong part of the domestic energy mix. She also underscored the importance of rational federal policies that will boost, rather than hold back, nuclear development.

“I believe that removing bureaucratic barriers to public-private partnerships, reforming the licensing structure, and continuing responsible funding for nuclear science RD&D will help drive these innovative technologies to revolutionize the industry and provide robust economic growth,” Murkowski said.

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Murkowski expressed her continued support for both the existing nuclear fleet and next generation technologies, which include small modular reactors, micro-reactors, Generation-four reactors, and future fusion reactors.    

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee has already taken steps in this Congress to boost nuclear power. The broad, bipartisan energy bill – S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act – written by Murkowski and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., included an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, to allow for new public-private partnerships to support advanced nuclear technologies.

Murkowski is also a cosponsor of S. 2795, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Modernization Act, which is sponsored by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. and being considered in that committee.

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