Joe Biden’s day of reckoning arrives with what the U.S. Senate just put on his desk

It’s decision time for President Biden. His hand is being forced once and for all.

Because the U.S. Senate just put this game-changing document on Joe Biden’s desk.

In a significant move towards bolstering nuclear energy, the Senate passed a major piece of pro-nuclear legislation on Tuesday, advancing the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk. Joe Biden is now the one who will have to decide whether to sign the bill, which doesn’t line up with the Democrats’ commitment to other forms of energy that haven’t quite panned out thus far like solar and wind.

The Fire Grants and Safety Act, which includes the pro-nuclear ADVANCE Act, garnered overwhelming bipartisan support, passing with an 88-2 vote. This bill is one of the most substantial efforts in recent years by Congress to enhance the nation’s nuclear energy infrastructure and capacity. It also represents a rare moment of consensus among Democrats and Republicans on energy policy during Biden’s first term.

Once signed by Biden, the bill — already approved by the House — will streamline the permitting process for advanced nuclear reactors, refine procedures for exporting certain nuclear technologies, strengthen the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) staff, and promote the advancement of nuclear fusion and related technologies.

“Today, we sent the ADVANCE Act to the president’s desk because Congress worked together to recognize the importance of nuclear energy to America’s future and got the job done,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a key figure in the negotiations. “This bipartisan legislation will encourage more innovation and investment in nuclear technologies domestically. It also directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to more efficiently fulfill its regulatory duties and helps repurpose conventional energy sites for future nuclear projects.”

Nuclear Energy: A Breakdown

Nuclear energy, known for being emissions-free and reliable, is seen as a viable option for both Republicans, who largely oppose Biden’s extensive climate agenda, and Democrats, who are generally resistant to expanding the use of other reliable fuel sources such as coal or natural gas.

Despite its advantages, nuclear technology has struggled to grow in the U.S. over the past several decades. High costs, a complex regulatory environment, stringent permitting processes, and public fears of potential nuclear disasters have all contributed to this stagnation, as energy policy experts have explained.

However, for the past several years, the Republican Party has been championing the future of nuclear energy given that it appears to be the very best option America has to create clean and cheap energy in the long term. The only downside are upfront costs, which are a moot point considering that the payoff is great given how long nuclear reactors create cheap energy.

“I urge President Biden to quickly sign this historic nuclear energy policy reform into law,” said Republican Representative Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, another key player in the bill’s development. “With the President’s signature, we will be safeguarding our energy security and our national security.”

Hypocrisy of the Democrats on Energy

The Democrats have been trying to ignore nuclear energy, insisting that solar and wind are even more safe than nuclear energy. Ignoring the potential of nuclear energy for American energy independence is no longer an option.

Democrats often champion clean energy and reducing carbon emissions, yet their reluctance to support nuclear energy, which produces minimal greenhouse gases, appears inconsistent. This hesitation undermines their credibility and commitment to fighting climate change. Critics argue that without nuclear power, achieving significant reductions in carbon emissions is far more challenging, making their environmental goals seem impractical or insincere.

By not fully endorsing nuclear energy, the Democratic Party is hindering technological progress. Nuclear energy has the potential for innovation and improvements in safety and efficiency. Their reluctance should be interpreted as a resistance to adopting and investing in advanced technologies that could revolutionize the energy sector.

Nuclear energy has the potential to create a large number of high-paying jobs and stimulate economic growth. The Democrat Party’s hesitancy is a missed opportunity to support an industry that can provide stable employment and economic benefits, especially in regions struggling with job losses in traditional energy sectors.

Nuclear Energy Is The Future

Many scientists advocate for nuclear energy as the future of power generation due to several compelling reasons. Nuclear energy produces minimal greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels. During operation, nuclear power plants emit virtually no carbon dioxide, making them a crucial component in efforts to combat climate change and reduce global carbon footprints.

Nuclear energy has an extremely high energy density compared to other energy sources. A small amount of nuclear fuel can produce a large amount of energy. For example, 1 kg of uranium-235 can produce about 24,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, whereas burning 1 kg of coal produces only about 8 kWh. This makes nuclear energy a highly efficient power source.

Nuclear power plants operate continuously and provide a stable, reliable source of electricity. They can run at high capacity factors (typically around 90% or higher), meaning they are producing electricity at full power most of the time. This makes them ideal for providing base load power, which is the minimum level of demand on an electrical grid over a span of time.

Furthermore, new advancements in nuclear technology, such as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and Generation IV reactors, promise to make nuclear power safer, more efficient, and more adaptable. These technologies aim to reduce the risks associated with nuclear energy, including the management of nuclear waste and the risk of accidents.

Stay tuned to the DC Daily Journal.

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