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Nuclear package "very close"

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Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Senate and House negotiators are near a deal on a compromise nuclear licensing package.

Why it matters: After a failed attempt to get it into the second minibus package, the bill's sponsors hope to have legislation in hand they can attach to the next moving vehicle.

Driving the news: Capito told Axios on Tuesday that committee leaders are "very close to a full deal" that pulls together the Senate ADVANCE Act and the House Atomic Energy Advancement Act.

  • "We were so close, and then the appropriators didn't want to have authorizing on that bill. I think that's what stubbed our toe on it," she said.

Context: Both bills are bipartisan and aim to speed up the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's licensing process for advanced reactors and bolster the agency's workforce.

  • The House bill is a bit more aggressive, with language that would require the NRC to update its mission to consider "the benefits of nuclear energy technology to society."

Friction point: As a potential deal comes together in private, Democrats are also airing grievances about expanding national nuclear capacity without new policies addressing the waste problem.

  • Diana DeGette, who authored the Atomic Energy Advancement Act, said today at an E&C subcommittee hearing on nuclear waste that "whatever we do, we have to figure this out if we're going to have more nuclear reactors."
  • And Doris Matsui told the hearing room: "If we are going to make any progress on nuclear power itself, we have to deal with these past issues."
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