Manchin, Barrasso Introduce Fission For The Future Act

Bipartisan legislation supports the deployment of advanced nuclear reactors, revitalizes communities affected by the closure of coal and other fossil generating facilities

December 16, 2021

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Committee, introduced the Fission for the Future Act, bipartisan legislation that would support the commercial deployment of advanced nuclear reactors.

The legislation would prioritize communities that have retiring coal or other fossil generating facilities and assist in the reutilization of sites to deploy advanced nuclear power plants, promoting job growth in economically depressed regions. The median annual wage for a nuclear power reactor operator is $104,470, making it one of the highest paid positions in the electricity generation field. Nuclear power plants also foster a strong state and local tax base, further strengthening communities. For every 100 jobs generated by a nuclear power plant, another 66 are created in the community.

“Nuclear energy is an important source of zero-emission, baseload power that is critical to providing reliable, affordable, and dependable power as we chart the path to a cleaner energy future. Advanced nuclear technologies also provide an opportunity to repurpose shuttered coal and fossil generating plants, which could bring new high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to communities throughout West Virginia and the nation while expanding our domestic nuclear supply chain. I’m proud to have worked with Senator Barrasso to introduce the Fission for the Future Act to support the development of these critical advanced nuclear reactors,” said Chairman Manchin.

““America must preserve and expand the use of nuclear energy. Our bipartisan legislation will assist state, local, and private stakeholders as they develop and license advanced nuclear reactors. Nuclear power is fundamental to meeting America’s energy and environmental goals. Wyoming will host TerraPower’s Natrium reactor, which will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. It is designed to generate and store electricity. Our legislation will help train and prepare local workers as we look ahead to the development of more of these groundbreaking reactors. I am thankful to Chairman Manchin for his partnership on this important legislation,” Ranking Member Barrasso said.

The Fission for the Future Act would:

  • Require the Secretary of Energy to establish a program to provide assistance to support the deployment of advanced nuclear reactors and associated infrastructure.
  • Enable the Department of Energy to provide assistance to States, Indian Tribes, local governments, utilities, and private entities to support commercial planning, licensing, and development of advanced nuclear reactors.
  • Prioritize communities that have retiring or retired fossil fuel generation facilities to help replace lost electricity generation with advanced nuclear reactors and support nonelectric applications – such as heating, hydrogen production, or industrial processes.

You can access full text of the bill here.