Bipartisan bill to prioritize HALEU debuts in House

August 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News



Reps. Elaine Luria (D., Va.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) have introduced in the House of Representatives the Fueling Our Nuclear Future Act (H.R. 8723), a measure to accelerate the availability of commercially produced high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel and boost domestic energy production in the United States.

Unveiled last week following a Senate version introduced in April by Sen. John Barrasso, the legislation directs the secretary of energy to prioritize and establish a program that ensures a domestic supply of HALEU for advanced nuclear reactors. Currently, the nation lacks the domestic enrichment capability to produce HALEU. The bill explicitly excludes uranium sourced or processed by any entity owned or controlled by the governments of Russia and China.

H.R. 8723 also directs the energy secretary to provide for an array of HALEU enrichment levels, output levels to meet demand, and fuel forms suitable for multiple advanced reactors. Further, the secretary is directed to consider options to establish a HALEU bank to replenish Department of Energy stockpiles of uranium made available as part of this program.

Words from the sponsors: “As an engineer who operated nuclear reactors in the Navy, I saw firsthand that nuclear power is safe and can play a key role in securing our energy independence and clean energy future,” said Luria in an August 17 press release. “I am proud to introduce the Fueling Our Nuclear Future Act. My legislation will boost America’s domestic energy production and ensure that the United States [remains] a global leader in nuclear energy technology.”

“As the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors begins to be licensed for widespread commercial deployment, securing a domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium is of particular importance,” Donalds remarked. “In order to promote America’s nuclear leadership role and to further our country’s ultimate intention of becoming energy independent, the federal government must step in to provide the necessary support and resources to establish the capability of producing HALEU in America—instead of solely relying on Russia for our domestic HALEU supply. I’m thankful to work across the aisle on a bipartisan basis to introduce the Fueling Our Nuclear Future Act, which provides vital federal support to combat the ongoing HALEU dilemma.”

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