The US Senate has approved an amendment to draft energy policy legislation to extend the 1957 Price-Anderson Act. The provision provides a mechanism for the renewal of the Act to be voted upon independently of the overall draft energy policy legislation, should it be necessary.
The Bush administration sees the law, which is due to expire on 1 August this year, as critical to initiating the construction of new nuclear plant. The law limits industry liability for an accident at a nuclear power plant to $9.3 billion, and requires the federal government to cover any liability claims exceeding this figure.
The Democrat-controlled Senate voted by 78-21 to extend the Act for another ten years. Last November The House of Representatives approved a 15-year extension of the Act. If the Senate bill is eventually passed, it would have to be reconciled with energy legislation that has cleared the House.