U.S. Senate passes pro-nuclear ADVANCE Act, 88 to 2


To paraphrase investigative reporter Greg Palast, it seems Congress is “the best that money can buy,” regarding the influence of nuclear industry lobbying and campaign contributions on its legislating.

Thanks to all who took action to try to prevent this horrible outcome. But alas, we lost — very badly.

On June 18, 2024, the United States Senate approved the pro-nuclear “ADVANCE Act” by an 88 to 2 vote. U.S. Senators Ed Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts) and Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont) were the only two NO votes. Ten U.S. Senators did not vote. (ADVANCE is an acronym: “Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy.”)

Here is the roll call, showing how each U.S. Senator voted.

Here is the bill’s text.

Please phone Sen. Markey’s [(202) 224-2742] and Sen. Sanders’ [(202) 224-5141] offices, to thank them for their courageous, wise, and good NO votes, despite it all. They spoke truth to power, and have kept some glimmer of hope alive, despite this very dark moment in the cause of anti-nuclear, environmental, and environmental justice activism.

You can also email your thanks to Markey and Sanders.

If your own Senator(s) voted YES, please contact their office(s) to express your displeasure and disagreement.

You can look up your Senators’ contact information (direct phone number, web form for sending email) here, or phone their D.C. offices, via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

Here is sample language you can use for emails and/or phone calls and/or snail mail letters to your U.S. Senators’ offices who voted YES, the wrong way on this bill (feel free to use verbatim as is, or to change it any way your like!):

“Dear Senator X,

As your constituent, I am deeply disturbed by your vote in favor of S. 870, Division B, the extremely pro-nuclear “ADVANCE Act.” The Senate’s passage of this bill marks a very dark day for environmental and health protection, safety, security, and environmental justice, as well as non-proliferation.

The ADVANCE Act will significantly increase the risks of nuclear power, by changing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s mandate from safety regulation to industry promotion, a 50-year step backwards! It would also promote new atomic reactors, and much more highly enriched nuclear fuel, both in the U.S., as well as overseas. This will worsen the hazards, harms, and environmental injustices at each and every stage of the uranium fuel chain, from mining to highly radioactive waste dumping. The ADVANCE Act’s allowing of foreign ownership of nuclear facilities in the U.S., and its promotion of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) fuel, both domestically and overseas, will also significantly increase nuclear weapons proliferation risks.

As a federal taxpayer, it is a slap in the face that the ADVANCE Act will further massively bail out the already heavily subsidized and filthy rich industry, especially since nuclear power takes too long, and costs too much, to be a climate solution. It is an opportunity cost, undermining smart climate mitigation, namely renewable sources like wind and solar, storage, and efficiency.

Thank you for considering my concerns.



If your Senator(s) did not vote, please contact their office(s) to ask why they did not vote on such an important matter.

Thank you to NIRS for providing the following many reasons why U.S. Senators should have voted NO on S. 870, Division B, the pro-nuclear ADVANCE Act:

  1. Environmental and Health Risks:
    • Promotes new nuclear power, which is environmentally unjust and relies heavily on carbon throughout its lifecycle, from mining to waste management.
    • Creates long-lasting radioactive waste that cannot be safely isolated.
    • Directs the use of “advanced” fuel that is more dangerous, not safer than fuel in use today—It is highly concentrated Uranium-235 fuel, nearly bomb grade, making the waste and routine releases to air and water even more dangerous.
  2. Economic Concerns:
    • Nuclear power is slow, much more expensive, and takes resources away from true climate solutions like renewable energy.
    • The cost and time associated with nuclear projects are substantial, making them an inefficient solution compared to alternatives like wind and solar energy.
  3. National Security Threats:
    • Accelerates nuclear proliferation by exporting dangerous nuclear materials and technology.
    • Allows foreign ownership of U.S. nuclear facilities, risking national security.
    • Changes the mission of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from regulation to promotion, increasing the risk of regulatory capture and safety lapses, as seen in the Fukushima disaster.
  4. Lack of Justice for Radiation Victims:
    • The House has failed to renew the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (S. 3853), denying compensation for radiation injuries.
    • The ADVANCE Act could exacerbate this injustice by increasing radioactive releases and exposures using taxpayer dollars.

This legislation not only misdirects vital resources away from sustainable energy solutions but also poses severe environmental, economic, and security risks.

As NIRS also wrote, this dangerous and misguided policy should not become law. But after yesterday, it likely will.

It is very likely that President Biden will sign the ADVANCE Act into law. However, we all should contact the White House nonetheless, to urge that he veto this bill:


You can also phone the White House at (202) 456-1111.

You can also write the White House via snail mail — but do so ASAP, because President Biden could sign the ADVANCE Act into law at any time now:

Send a letter to the White House

Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your correspondence gets to the White House as quickly as possible.

  • If possible, email us! This is the fastest way to reach the White House.
  • If you write a letter, please consider typing it on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper.
  • If you hand-write your letter, please write as neatly as possible with an ink pen.
  • Include your return address on your letter as well as on your envelope. If you have an email address, please share it with us too.
  • And finally, please be sure to write on the outside of your mailing envelope the complete address for the White House to make sure your letter gets to us as quickly and directly as possible:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Even in the unlikely event that President Biden vetoes the ADVANCE Act, we would have a very tall mountain to climb to prevent Congress from overriding the presidential veto. The U.S. House, in May, also passed the ADVANCE Act, by a 393 to 13 vote. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett from Texas was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. Here is the roll call vote from May 8, 2024 in the U.S. House (note that one Representative voted “present,” while 23 did not vote).

Dr. Edwin Lyman, Nuclear Power Safety Director at Union of Concerned Scientists, issued a strong statement opposing the ADVANCE Act, prior to its U.S. Senate passage. Dr. Lyman won an Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) award, during ANA’s annual “D.C. Days,” on May 21, 2024.

Dave Kraft, executive director of Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago, also issued a strong statement opposing the ADVANCE Act, after its passage. Dave won Beyond Nuclear’s Dr. Judith H. Johnsrud “Unsung Hero” Award, also during ANA’s “D.C. Days,” in 2017.

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