Senate Passes Nuclear Energy Leadership Act In Defense Authorization Bill

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today thanked her colleagues for supporting the inclusion of S. 903, her Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), in S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. The Senate today passed the NDAA bill, with NELA incorporated by amendment, by a vote of 86 to 14.

“For too long, the United States has lagged woefully behind on innovative nuclear energy technologies, which comes at great cost to our economy, our global leadership, and the environment,” Murkowski said. “The Department of Defense is a logical first customer for advanced reactors, especially the microreactors currently under development, which can be deployed to remote regions. Nuclear energy can also provide safe, clean, and affordable power to homes, schools, and businesses that traditionally rely on more costly energy sources.”

Murkowski and Senator Cory Booker, D-NJ, led a bipartisan group of 20 Senators last month in sending a letter to urge the inclusion of NELA in NDAA, based in part on nuclear energy’s contribution to national security.

When floor debate began on NDAA, Murkowski and Booker introduced Amendment #2012, containing the text of NELA, along with 15 additional Senators: Thom Tillis, R-NC; Joe Manchin, D-WV; Martha McSally, R-AZ; Tammy Duckworth, D-IL; Marsha Blackburn, R-TN; Doug Jones, D-AL; Lamar Alexander, R-TN; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI; Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-MS; Benjamin Cardin, D-MD; Jim Risch, R-ID; Chris Coons, D-DE; Mike Crapo, R-ID; Rob Portman, R-OH; and Kevin Cramer, R-ND.

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. The advanced reactors supported by NELA have significant potential to provide safe, clean, reliable, and affordable energy to installations such as military bases, remote communities in states like Alaska, and to larger towns and cities across the country.

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

Related Issues: Defense, Energy