West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is seeking tax credits for nuclear power plants for 10 years instead of the six years as put in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which Manchin himself stalled late last year with his opposition to many of its provisions.
Just before Christmas, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of coal and gas-producing West Virginia, a crucial vote in a divided Senate, said he would not support President Biden’s Build Back Better bill. Democrats are now trying to salvage the bill and may be forced to drop some policy priorities if they want Senator Manchin’s decisive vote and the bill to pass.
Senator Manchin supports at least one climate policy in the bill—tax credits to nuclear power plants as part of the U.S. Administration’s ambition to make the American power grid carbon-free by 2035.
However, Manchin wants the tax credit for nuclear plants to last for 10 years, four years longer than in the draft, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter.
Last week, Senator Manchin told reporters, as carried by The Hill:
“I’m big on hydrogen, I’m big on nuclear, and I’m really big on basically making sure fossils are used in the cleanest possible fashion.”
“The climate thing is one that we probably can come to an agreement much easier than anything else,” he added.
Manchin and other Democratic Senators introduced last year legislation to make the existing merchant nuclear power owners/operators eligible for the same 1.5 cent/kilowatt-hour credit ($15/megawatt hour) proposed for wind operators.
“Maintaining the zero-emission, baseload power our nuclear fleet provides and preventing further retirements of our nuclear reactors is critical to achieving any emission reduction goals,” Manchin said back then.
Production tax credits for nuclear plants have faced criticism from environmental organizations due to radioactive waste and safety concerns.
Last month, more than 100 organizations urged the Senate Finance Committee to remove the $35 billion nuclear production tax credit from the Build Back Better Act, and to instead “invest in a just and equitable transition to safe, clean renewable energy.”