Working to create more American-produced energy and jobs in a district with six nuclear reactors, Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (IL-11) has built a record as a leader in bringing nuclear issues to the forefront of the national stage and advocating for new commitments for long-term investment in nuclear power.
"I've worked hard to bring local, state and national leaders to the table to further an energy agenda that will create jobs and Illinois energy right here in the 11th District," said Halvorson. "If we're truly going to be energy independent, we need a comprehensive energy strategy that invests heavily in nuclear energy, and it's been my mission in Congress to be an aggressive voice for more safe nuclear power."
With over 3,600 individuals employed in the local nuclear industry in a district with more commercial reactors than any other in the country, Halvorson has made nuclear and energy issues a legislative focus in her first term in Congress. As the co-chair of the moderate New Democrat Coalition's Energy Task Force and member of the Nuclear Issues Working Group, Halvorson has led a number of initiatives and co-sponsored major legislation in support of investment in nuclear power, including the Nuclear Power 2021 Act and the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative Improvement Act-legislation that would expand nuclear power facility research and deployment.
Halvorson has consistently supported and fought for increased investments for nuclear energy. In March, Halvorson spearheaded a letter to the heads of the House Budget Committee, signed by several Congressional colleagues, to advocate for increased funding for nuclear initiatives in the fiscal year 2011 budget.
More recently, Halvorson has advocated for loan guarantees for the development of new nuclear facilities which is necessary for the continued growth of nuclear power in the country. Her advocacy for nuclear technology development led Alex Flint, Sr. Vice President of the Nuclear Energy Institute to say that, "Congresswoman Halvorson clearly recognizes the role of nuclear energy in the transition to a lower-carbon electricity portfolio. She has been a strong advocate of nuclear energy because of the jobs it creates, the energy security it provides, and its role in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases. Thanks to the leadership of members of Congress like Congresswoman Halvorson, nuclear energy is a bipartisan solution that meets the electricity needs of Illinois and the nation."
Halvorson has also taken the lead in working with General Electric and local stakeholders to develop a nuclear spent fuel reprocessing facility in Grundy County, where it would create jobs and support surrounding nuclear facilities.
"GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy appreciates all that Rep. Debbie Halvorson has done to support nuclear power and build a more prosperous, clean and independent tomorrow for all Americans," said Kevin Walsh, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Fuel Cycle, GE Hitachi Nuclear. "With more nuclear power plants than any other state, Illinois has always been a leader on cleaner, safer nuclear energy. Rep. Halvorson has extended that tradition of leadership with her strong advocacy for the expanded use of nuclear energy."
In addition to her work to bring a reprocessing facility to Grundy County, Halvorson also fought to ensure pro-nuclear provisions were included in the American Clean Energy and Security Act. According to John Rowe, CEO of Exelon, which operates all three nuclear facilities in Halvorson's district, the American Clean Energy and Security Act would help the nuclear energy industry and, "control costs, and protect your family's budget."
Provisions in the Halvorson-supported bill that would support the nuclear industry include the creation of a Clean Energy Deployment Administration and improvements in the clean-energy loan guarantee program to kick-start the development of new nuclear power plants and initiatives throughout the country.