Federal appropriations bills include $212 million hike in nuclear funding

March 5, 2024, 12:03PMNuclear News

New appropriations bills currently under review in the U.S. Congress include a significant funding boost for nuclear energy.

This week, ranking members of both the U.S. House and Senate released six fiscal year 2024 appropriations, including the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill that has nuclear energy funding for FY 2024.

The bill provides $1.685 billion for nuclear energy research and development, including funding for microreactor development and accident tolerant fuel important for nuclear safety. It designates another $2.72 billion in repurposed supplemental emergency funding toward high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for advanced reactor fuel development, an important step in making the U.S. less reliant on Russian and Chinese sources.

Highlights: Here are some specifics about the nuclear funding and where it’s earmarked:

  • $1.685 billion for overall nuclear energy—$212 million more than was earmarked in FY 2023;
  • $6,630,000 for the University Nuclear Leadership Program, which provides funds for graduate programs in the nuclear field;
  • $100 million earmarked for a new nuclear safety program as part of workforce development training;
  • $20 million to reestablish a low-dose radiation research pilot program in coordination with the Office of Environment, Health, Safety, and Security, along with the Office of Nuclear Energy;
  • $16 million for integrated energy systems, including hydrogen projects co-located with nuclear; and
  • $137 million in appropriation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure the safe use of nuclear reactors while protecting people and the environment.

What’s next? The legislation will be considered first in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the Senate. If the package passes both chambers by the end of the week, it is expected to be signed into law by President Biden.

ANS's statement: Craig Piercy, CEO and Executive Director of the American Nuclear Society, said “[The] Provisions in the Energy and Water Division of the bill seek to increase domestic uranium enrichment capabilities, including high-assay low-enriched uranium availability, commercialization assistance for U.S. advanced reactors, as well as support for a new nuclear safety training program for future workforce development. The initiatives [listed in the bill] are crucial if we are to secure our nuclear fuel supply chain, end our reliance on Russian uranium imports, and restore American leadership in nuclear energy." Piercy added that he hopes Congress will act swiftly to approve the provisions in the proposed bill.

Quotable: “This bipartisan bill strengthens our investments in cutting-edge scientific research, protects critical funding to propel renewable energy research and climate problems, helps keep America’s grid secure . . . and so much more,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), chair of the Senate appropriations committee and interim chair of the subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

“The investments in this bill help keep our country competitive [and] help secure our energy grid, so we can reduce our dependence on foreign countries, lower energy prices, and lead the world in clean energy technologies,” she added.

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