Congress set to pass year-end funding bill

December 22, 2020, 12:08PMNuclear News

The final text of the approximately 5,600-page Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 was released on December 22. While the timing of final passage is still fluid, the Senate was expected to approve it and send it on to President Trump to sign into law, according to John Starkey, American Nuclear Society government relations director.

Below are some key funding highlights from the legislation pertaining to nuclear energy.

FY21 Energy and Water Development high-level funding takeaways*



DOE-NE Funding



Uranium Enrichment and Decontamination Fund



Defense Environmental Cleanup



NRC Total Budget (with OIG)



NRC Fee Recoverable (with OIG)



*Numbers in millions of dollars

The Energy and Water Development report:

Department of Energy-Nuclear Energy funding begins on page 119
  • Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) received $250 million
  • Advanced small modular reactors received $115m
  • High-assay low-enriched uranium - $10m for EBR-II as well as $10m for ZIRCEX
  • Light water reactor sustainability - Within the $47m for LWRS, $10m is to support hydrogen demonstration programs
  • Civil nuclear enrichment – funded at $40m
  • Accident tolerant fuels (ATF)- funded at $105.8m
  • Uranium reserve – Funded under the National Nuclear Security Administration for $75m (Report language on page 145 of pdf)

Nuclear Regulatory Commission funding begins on page 201
  • Total Fee Recoverable including Office of Inspector General is reduced by $7m

The Defense report:

  • Mobile Micro Reactor Strategy report language can be found on page 378
  • The Defense Appropriations bill included $70m for the micro nuclear reactor program
  • $10m is included for TRISO fuel production

Division Z of the legislation is the Bipartisan Energy Package:

Key points: Starkey noted that, all in all, nuclear energy faired well in the bill. Nuclear saw new support for the uranium reserve as well as heightened funding for the ARDP, ATF, and the Advanced SMR programs.

On the Department of Defense front, nuclear saw the second consecutive year of funding for the micro reactor program at $70m, along with another $10m for TRISO fuel production.

Finally, the bipartisan Energy package was included in the bill as Division Z, which Starkey called a big step forward in authorizing many of the programs underway to help develop and support advanced nuclear reactors.

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