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Capito legislation could boost nuclear prospects in West Virginia

By Steven Allen Adams, The Intelligencer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill championed by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito to encourage research and implementation of new ways to generate power from nuclear energy is now heading to the desk of President Joe Biden.

The U.S. Senate passed the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act of 2024 Tuesday night as part of S.870, the Fire Grants and Safety Act. The bill passed in an 88-2 vote after the Senate concurred with amendments made by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The ADVANCE Act encourages the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to work with international partners toward developing the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors for electrical generation.

The bill reduces regulatory costs for companies wishing to license new reactor technologies, creates a prize to incentivize development of new technologies, and eases licensing pathways for micro-reactors.

It gives the NRC greater flexibility to look at improved manufacturing techniques to more quickly construct new nuclear facilities.

The bill also encourages the use of former power plant sites and brownfields for new nuclear reactor programs, as well as eases the licensing review process for new facilities at existing reactor sites.

Capito, R-W.Va., was the lead sponsor and author of the ADVANCE Act along with Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Capito, the ranking Republican member of EPW, called the bill an example of bipartisan leadership.

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