Rep. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has issued a three-page “Blueprint for Nuclear Innovation and Competitiveness,” highlighting nuclear policy priorities in the areas of licensing and regulatory modernization, financing, and fuel (including used fuel). According to a press release from Duncan’s office, the document aims “to help chart the course for the nuclear energy agenda in the next Congress and facilitate policy discussions among both lawmakers and industry leaders.” Published last week—along with a related “Dear Colleague” letter—the blueprint is also, according to E&E News, “a sign of his ambitions for landing a more senior role with the committee,” including a subcommittee leadership position should the GOP gain control of the House in the next Congress.
What he’s saying: “The United States has the technological and engineering capabilities to be the world leader in nuclear energy, and we must modernize our current system to ensure the United States’ nuclear dominance,” declared Duncan. “For the United States to maintain a geopolitical advantage and strong national defense, the ability to provide affordable and reliable energy to consumers, and meet climate goals of the 21st century, it is essential to advance the nuclear industry by streamlining and modernizing regulatory hurdles that disincentivize private sector investment.
“As it now stands, our adversaries like Russia and China are outpacing the United States in nuclear energy development. Advancing our nuclear industry should be a priority in the next Congress, and the nuclear energy blueprint will start the conversation on what needs to be done to ensure our dominance in the nuclear energy industry.”
More from Duncan: The previous week, the South Carolina congressman led more than 70 members of Congress in a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, advocating for the Department of Energy to prioritize technologies to advance the U.S. nuclear industry.
“The sustainability of the U.S. nuclear fuel cycle is imperative to our national security and energy security, and technological advancements in fuel reprocessing provide benefits to long-term fuel security,” Duncan stated in a November 7 release. “Advanced reactor technologies combined with fuel reprocessing advancements will help create a more sustainable and secure fuel cycle. There is no doubt this will help establish our nuclear leadership globally, and we look forward to working with the DOE to advance these goals.”