Two senators have introduced legislation that would double nuclear energy output in the U.S. over the next 20 years.
Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee unveiled the $20 billion Clean Energy Act of 2009, which hopes to create advances in nuclear technology and other clean technologies, while lowering carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.
The appropriations will fund a series of carbon-free electricity loan guarantees, nuclear energy training and research, and the development of solar and alternative power technologies.
"By making a concerted investment in nuclear power and other renewable energy technologies, we can effectively address our nation’s energy requirements and also the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Webb.
The legislation was created in response to the "cap-and-trade" bill that is currently being held up in the Senate, an initiative that Webb and Alexander refuse to vote for in its current form.
Also known as emissions trading, the cap-and-trade bill would set a limit on the amount of pollutants that a company can emit, and would then force that company to purchase credits if they exceed their allotment.
Criticizing the idea of emissions trading, an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal stated that "once the government creates a scarce new commodity—in this case the right to emit carbon—and then mandates that businesses buy it, the costs would inevitably be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher prices."