Bill to return U.S. to a nuclear energy leadership position advances

December 16, 2022, 7:32AMNuclear News

The International Nuclear Energy Act (S. 4064), a bill aimed at developing a strategy to counter the growing influence of Russia and China on the global nuclear export market, was reported favorably out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 7.

The measure was introduced in April by Sens. Jim Risch (R., Idaho), the committee’s ranking member, and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Bill basics: According to the lawmakers, S. 4064 would accomplish the following:

  • Support the establishment of an office to coordinate civil nuclear exports strategy, establish financing relationships, promote regulatory harmonization, enhance safeguards and security, promote standardization of licensing framework, and create a nuclear exports working group.
  • Create programs to facilitate international nuclear energy cooperation to develop financing relationships, training, education, market analysis, safety, security, safeguards, and nuclear governance required for a civil nuclear program.
  • Require cabinet-level biennial summits—one focused on nuclear safety, security, and safeguards, and another for civil nuclear vendors to enhance cooperative relationships between private industry and government.
  • Establish a Strategic Infrastructure Fund Working Group to determine how to best structure a fund to finance projects critical to national security.

A word from the sponsors: “We are at a critical point in the fight for energy security,” said Risch in a press release. “Whether the goal is to reduce energy dependence on Russia or support clean energy innovation, more and more countries are looking toward nuclear energy for their future energy security. Exporting new and advanced nuclear technologies like small modular and microreactors helps our partners meet their energy needs and is a strategic imperative in great power competition with Russia and China. This bill promotes U.S. interagency coordination and prioritization of civil nuclear exports and provides new tools for U.S. agencies to fund civil nuclear projects in partner countries.”

Manchin added, “American energy security and independence is crucial to our national security, and our bipartisan International Nuclear Energy Act will help the United States remain a global superpower while strengthening our global partnerships. I’m pleased the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed this important legislation out of committee today, and I am dedicated to supporting the development of our civil nuclear exports while ensuring American energy is affordable, reliable, clean, and secure.”

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