Multiple news sources indicate that the Biden administration’s stand on nuclear subsidies has gone from unknown to publicly supportive, although the issue is still considered a liability among some environmental groups.
In one of the clearest indications of the administration’s position, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a House Appropriations Committee hearing on May 6, “We are not going to be able to achieve our climate goals if our nuclear plants shut down. We have to find ways to keep them operating.”
"We’re racing to cut emissions, create jobs, and shore up local economies -- allowing nuclear plants to close sets us back on all three fronts," Nuclear Engineering International quoted Ryan Fitzpatrick, director of the climate and energy program at Washington-based moderate think tank, Third Way, as saying.
Newswire service Reuters reported that discussions of nuclear power subsidies from the federal government have been taking place. In question is how to present that to the public and what bill could be used to include the measure.
One option is to attach it to the $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan as a part of the Clean Energy Standard program. This would operate along with a clean generation tax credit.
Reportedly, the federal government’s programs would supersede state assistance. Several states, including Ohio, Connecticut, New York, Illinois and New Jersey have endorsed some form of nuclear power subsidy to help plants remain economically viable in the face of collapsing prices in the wholesale energy market.
State subsidies collectively cover 14 reactors at 10 power plants, which account for 9 percent of the utility-scale generating capacity in those states and 13 percent of the nation’s nuclear generating capacity. Nationwide, the country’s 90 operating nuclear plants produce 19 percent of its electricity, all of that carbon-free.
The Biden administration has set targets of becoming carbon neutral in electricity production by 2035 and developing a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. In the meanwhile, at least five other reactors are scheduled for retirement by 2025, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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Want electric vehicles? Charge them 24/7 with the nukes.