2019 ANS Congressional Fellow reports on energy policy work in the House

March 9, 2020, 2:17PMANS News

Alyse Huffman is the 2019 ANS Congressional Fellow

During my time on the Energy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I’ve had the pleasure of covering a wide variety of issues. The jurisdiction of the subcommittee includes nonmilitary research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities at the Department of Energy. My portfolio covers issues in the energy and water nexus, geothermal energy, water power technologies, nuclear energy, geoengineering, biological and environmental research (including low-dose radiation research), and nuclear physics. I’ve led the committee’s staff work in these areas, which has included writing legislation and shepherding bills through committee markups and the legislative process. In addition, I’ve been the staff lead on hearings and have held countless meetings with stakeholder groups on clean energy topics.

Huffman (at left) in May at Beaver Valley with three representatives of Beaver Valley (wearing name badges) and four members of the House Energy Subcommittee (from left to right): Rep. Haley Stevens (D., Mich.), Rep. Lamb, Rep. Bill Foster (D., Ill.), and Rep. Sean Casten (D., Ill.).

The year has included a few memorable experiences related to nuclear energy. The first occurred back in May 2019, when I was the staff lead on a field hearing on nuclear energy in the district of Rep. Conor Lamb (D., Pa.), who was then chair of the Energy Subcommittee. A nuclear plant in his district—the Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station—has two units that are at risk of premature closure. The hearing was held a few miles down the street from the plant, where members of the committee heard from a panel of experts on the importance of maintaining a domestic nuclear industry as well as building advanced nuclear to ensure both our global leadership in the field and national security.

Another memorable experience happened very recently. I’m proud to say that I was the lead staffer working on H.R. 6097, the Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act. The bill was introduced on March 5 by Rep. Lamb and by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R., Wash.). This bill reauthorizes ongoing activities of the Office of Nuclear Energy at the Department of Energy and creates new programs as well, including a nuclear hybrid--energy system program, an advanced reactor demonstration program, and a program to help reactor developers obtain high--assay, low-enriched uranium. This is the legislation authorizing nuclear energy R&D programs that the Science Committee is working to pass through committee to be conferenced with the Senate’s nuclear legislation and ultimately signed into law.

I always wanted to do more to further clean energy technologies, and the American Nuclear Society’s Congressional Fellowship allowed me that opportunity. I learned so much during the year I spent as a fellow on the House Science Committee, and I’m happy to have accepted a full-time position as a professional staff member on the Energy Subcommittee. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about applying to serve as a Congressional Fellow to reach out and talk to me or other past fellows about our experience.—Alyse.Huffman@mail.house.gov


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