The House had already passed the bill. It was sent to President Bush for his signature.
Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky had language inserted into the bill that requires DOE facilities to meet the same health and safety regulations as private businesses.
"This is good news for workers at the Paducah plant," said Bunning. "It simply doesn’t make sense to hold one facility to a higher standard than another. By approving this legislation today, we have taken a crucial step forward in better protecting the health and safety of workers at all nuclear facilities across the country."
Meanwhile, lawmakers abandoned a last-ditch effort to pass a scaled-back energy bill.
Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., chairman of the House-Senate conference that sought to work out a final bill, said he planned to put energy legislation high on the agenda in the next Congress.
Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., the incoming Senate majority leader, also has said energy will be addressed early in 2003.
Disagreements between the House and Senate over key parts of the bill could not be overcome.