The US Senate has passed a bill to expedite advanced nuclear reactor deployment by streamlining the permit process and offering incentives for advanced reactor technologies, Reuters has reported.

The move is seen as pivotal in the country’s efforts to decarbonise the power sector and ensure a reliable electricity supply.

The bill passed decisively with an 88-2 vote in the Senate, showcasing the bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans for expanding nuclear power.

Democrats consider it crucial for combating climate change, while Republicans see it as a means to bolster energy reliability and generate employment opportunities.

The bill, which has already passed the House of Representatives, now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature to become law.

The legislation proposes to reduce regulatory expenses for companies seeking to license advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

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It also establishes a prize for the successful deployment of novel reactors and expedites licensing for nuclear facilities at designated sites.

Companies such as TerraPower, supported by Bill Gates, could benefit from the new legislation.

TerraPower is working on constructing a $4bn Natrium reactor in Kemmerer in the US state of Wyoming, at a former coal plant site, but has faced challenges in obtaining a crucial permit.

In June 2024, Bechtel broke ground on the Natrium advanced reactor demonstration project.

Its reactor is a fusion of TerraPower and GE Hitachi technology, representing a significant advancement in the generation of clean, sustainable power.

It utilises sodium-based cooling technology rather than traditional water cooling.