Nuclear innovation is key to America’s economic future

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As energy prices continue to soar, President Biden is offering Americans a choice between a clean environment or a strong economy.

This is a false and misleading choice. The most cost-effective way to ensure a reliable supply of electricity and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, while advancing our national, economic and energy security interests, is through American innovation, including the nuclear innovation.

Nuclear energy currently provides 19 percent of electricity generated in the United States Today’s nuclear power plants are resilient, reliable and emission-free, but advances in nuclear technology have stalled and Democrats still often stigmatize nuclear power. Since nuclear power plants operate at full capacity for more than 92 percent of the time, these reactors are the most reliable source of clean energy in our country.

Our national nuclear energy industry also plays an important role in job creation and economic growth. America’s nuclear industry supports nearly half a million American jobs and contributes to approximately $60 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States each year. Specifically, a traditional nuclear power plant employs approximately 7,000 workers during construction, 500 to 800 workers at a time during its 80+ years of operation and contributes millions of dollars on an annual basis to local economies through federal and state tax revenues. The U.S. nuclear industry also has the highest paying jobs in the entire power generation industry with wages that are 30% higher than the average local occupation and up to 25% more per hour than the second highest paying electricity-related job. Not to mention that 19.9% ​​of all US nuclear service employees are Veterans. Additionally, a nuclear plant only requires a footprint of 1.3 square miles per megawatt to generate clean, 24/7 electricity that will power more than 750,000 homes.

Despite enormous economic and environmental benefits, the radical left has worked against this robust source of carbon-free energy. It just doesn’t make sense. From misguided proposal to shut down Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor in California to countries like Germany closing all their nuclear power plants – these policies often lead to higher emissions, energy insecurityand ultimately higher electricity prices for US citizens.

Worse still, innovative and advanced nuclear reactor technologies are currently locked in a cumbersome regulatory process that was designed for legacy reactors. Unlike large light water reactors that have provided reliable power for decades, advanced reactors are smaller, more flexible, often have built-in safety features, and use different fuels. A one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t make sense with today’s various advanced reactors. That’s why we need targeted investments in critical research facilities that accelerate the development of advanced reactor technologies here in the United States, and we need to take the necessary steps to reform the licensing process to accelerate the development and commercialization of innovative reactor designs. Without these actions, American innovation will decline and our adversaries, such as China and Russia, will take the lead in the technologies of the future.

If we want to see nuclear power that is versatile, affordable, and able to meet the growing global demand for emission-free power, we need to fix the current regulatory process and open the door for American innovators to bring the next generation of nuclear technologies to market. national and global. These advanced nuclear technologies will be instrumental in reviving US energy dominance and will play a major role in reducing global emissions. We can no longer accept the stagnation caused by outdated regulations, especially at a time when American innovators are willing and able to rise to the challenge of re-establishing the United States as a world leader in nuclear technology.

That’s why House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) created the Task Force on Energy, Climate and Conservation and the Task Force on Jobs and the Economy, to help identify and develop policy solutions that strengthen energy innovation, increase American competitiveness, and help promote well-paying American jobs.

House Republicans support common sense, realistic, and effective policies to address global emissions and meet our nation’s needs for affordable, reliable, and secure energy. It is clear that nuclear energy should be part of this solution.

Duncan represents South Carolina’s 3rd District and Donalds represents Florida’s 19th District. They are part of the Republican House Leader’s Energy, Climate and Conservation Task Force.

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