A senate vote on renewing the Price-Anderson nuclear insurance law has been pushed back until mid-February.
A bill to renew the law was included in energy legislation that Senator Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) sought to bring to the Senate floor on 4 December. However, this was blocked by the senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota).
The outlook for an extension of the Price-Anderson Act remains good. A day after blocking a Senate vote on the Murkowski bill, Daschle, along with Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) introduced their own comprehensive energy bill that also includes a Price-Anderson renewal provision. Daschle promised to bring his bill, "The Energy Policy of 2002" up for a vote in the full Senate in mid February.
The Bingaman-Daschle bill would extend the DoE's authority to indemnify its contractors, while increasing the maximum amount of DoE contractor indemnification from $9.43 billion to $10 billion. It would also raise from $100 million to $500 million the liability limit for nuclear incidents outside the USA.