GOP lawmakers call on Secretary Granholm to secure U.S. nuclear energy sector

May 2, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News


McMorris Rodgers

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Fred Upton (R., Mich.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy, sent a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on April 27 urging that more be done to secure America’s nuclear energy sector.

Excerpt: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposes the risks of weakening American energy security,” McMorris Rodgers and Upton write. “These risks extend beyond our oil and gas assets to include supply vulnerabilities in our civilian nuclear sector. This sector is essential for national and energy security and for strengthening the geostrategic relationships necessary to compete with Russia, China, and other adversaries.

“Unfortunately, global nuclear fuel market disruptions in the wake of Japanese and German nuclear reactor shutdowns following the Fukushima accident in 2011, as well as U.S. reactor shutdowns over the past decade, undermined domestic uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment services. This eroded our domestic nuclear fuel infrastructure. At the same time, reliance on inexpensive, Russian-sourced fuels to well more than 20 percent of America’s nuclear fuel supply created strategic vulnerabilities. Those vulnerabilities now threaten disruption to fuel supplies for a nuclear fleet that is responsible for 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, as well as the timely deployment of advanced nuclear technologies.”

Questions: The letter asks Granholm to provide, by May 11, information regarding the Department of Energy’s implementation of nuclear energy security measures.

Among other things, the lawmakers request a description of all actions the DOE is taking to “identify and address current and potential nuclear fuel supply disruptions, including, but not limited to, implementation of recommendations of the U.S. Nuclear Fuels Working Group’s 2020 report and contingency planning to address short-term shortages and capacity gaps caused by loss of access to Russian-sourced nuclear fuels.”

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