Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Martha McSally, R- Arizona, introduced legislation Aug. 1 that would help curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the economic viability of the current U.S. nuclear fleet by helping nuclear power plants operate longer and more efficiently.

The Nuclear Energy Renewal Act directs the Secretary of the Department of Energy to establish and enhance programs to help reduce the operation and maintenance costs of U.S. nuclear power plants, expand advanced modeling and simulation tools and bolster research and development. The bill also addresses the shrinking nuclear energy workforce by creating an apprenticeship program to educate the next generation of workers and equip them with the skills necessary for the industry.

“Climate change poses an existential threat to our economy, our environment and our national security,” said Coons. “To address this threat, we need an innovative strategy to reduce emissions and enhance our ability to generate clean and consistent power. In 2017, the U.S. nuclear power fleet produced enough emissions-free energy to prevent the release of 547 million metric tons of CO2 into our atmosphere. I’m proud that this legislation will allow the Department of Energy to provide nuclear power plants with the requisite tools and research to increase their cost-competitiveness and develop the new technologies they require to operate efficiently.”

A one-pager on the bill is available at bit.ly/2MCjXgt, and the full text of the bill is available at bit.ly/2MCka3f.