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March 8, 2024

Dear Members of Congress, 

On behalf of Independent Women’s Voice, I strongly applaud the passage of Representatives Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) bipartisan H.R. 6544, the Atomic Energy Advancement Act. Independent Women’s Voice fights for women and their loved ones by effectively expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well-intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being.

Support for nuclear energy is high in the U.S. But red tape and onerous regulations prevent these projects from going online and providing much-needed power to strengthen our electric grid. This bill would bring much-needed clarity.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) would be equipped to license and regulate nuclear energy plants more efficiently. This would help expedite environmental review for new nuclear reactors in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidelines. Moreover, NRC would also license nuclear projects on sites boasting retired or soon-to-be-retired coal and natural gas plants with existing infrastructure. 

Nuclear energy is the most plentiful clean energy source in the U.S., accounting for nearly 20% of utility scale electricity generation produced today. There are currently 28 states that include nuclear as part of their energy mix. These plants are extremely reliable with a 24/7 base load and are 2.5 to 3.5 times more reliable than comparable wind and solar facilities. In fact, the Department of Energy touts nuclear power as having the highest capacity factor rate of any energy source at 92.5% efficiency. 

In addition to being extremely reliable, nuclear energy is the most land-efficient source available. These facilities use a fraction of land, or about 18 to 27 times less than on-ground solar photovoltaic (PV) ones. A single 1,000 megawatt nuclear facility occupies a mere square mile of land. For wind and solar to generate the same amount of energy, they need 360 and 75 times more land, respectively. 

Forgoing nuclear projects will put the U.S. in a strategic disadvantage with respect to energy security. Adversarial nations like Russia and China, with their questionable environmental records,  plan to build 25 and 45 new plants, respectively. As they scaled up nuclear plants, the U.S. has lagged behind– shutting down 12 facilities between 2013-2021. The U.S., however, is playing catch up with Georgia Power Plant’s Vogtle Unit 3 and Unit 4. These are the first U.S. plants built in over three decades. But more plants will be needed to overcome potential threats. 

Strengthening the nuclear energy industry would also bolster our economy. Nearly 600,000 high-quality, long-term jobs and secondary jobs, respectively, are supported by this industry–adding $60 billion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) annually. 

For all these reasons, we urge the Senate to work toward the swift passage of the Atomic Energy Advancement Act. IWV thanks Representatives Jeff Duncan and Diana DeGette for their leadership on this issue.


Gabriella Hoffman

Director, Center for Energy and Conservation

Independent Women’s Voice