On June 18, 2019, U.S. Representatives Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Denver Riggleman (R-VA), along with Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Conor Lamb (D-PA), introduced in the House the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (H.R. 3306), an identical companion bill to the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (S. 903) (“NELA”), which was introduced in the Senate on March 27, 2019.
The bill is designed to help the United States regain its global nuclear leadership and calls on the Department of Energy to create a 10-year nuclear energy strategic plan. But the bill’s resurgence and introduction in the House reflects the current excitement surrounding the advanced nuclear industry and its promise to provide a clean, reliable source of energy. Use of identical bills will hopefully help expedite its passage once it is reported out of committee. The Senate Energy Committee is also coordinating with the House cosponsors and other House leadership to shepherd the bill through the legislative process.
In Rep. Luria’s press release associated with the bill, she says:
As an engineer who operated nuclear reactors on aircraft carriers, I know that ensuring a thriving civilian nuclear industry is vital not only for our economy, but for our national security. Nuclear energy must be part of any solution to transitioning to a clean energy future because nuclear power provides over 55% of our carbon-free energy. That’s why I’m proud to reach across the aisle and introduce this critical bipartisan bill.
On the NRC side, there have been two recent papers issued this June impacting advanced reactor design:
- Population siting criteria. The NRC recently issued a draft white paper, “Population-related Siting Considerations for Advanced Reactors,” which supports ongoing public discussions on possible changes to agency guidance documents associated with population-related siting considerations for advanced reactors. The draft white paper will be discussed at an NRC public meeting on June 27, 2019, as part of a larger meeting between nuclear industry groups, other stakeholders, and the NRC on regulatory process improvements for advanced reactor designs.
- Modeling and Simulation. The NRC also recently issued a paper “The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Approach to Modeling and Simulation of Advanced Non-LWRs: Preparing for the Next Nuclear Renaissance,” which describes the modeling and simulation approach the NRC is developing for non-LWRs.
Last but certainly not least, we are excited to pass along that Rita Baranwal has been overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate to be the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy. Her strong technical background, successful leadership of the DOE Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear, and overall enthusiasm for nuclear energy make her ideally suited to help usher in the next generation of nuclear reactors. Congratulations!
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