Senate passes defense bill with advanced nuclear provisions

In an 86 to 14 vote, the Senate on July 23 passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, incorporating by amendment S. 903, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA). The House of Representatives passed its version of the NDAA, which supports $740 billion in funding for national defense, earlier in the week in a less bipartisan manner, 295 to 125. Members of both chambers will now begin negotiations to hammer out a final bill to send to the president—a process that could take months.

Lawmakers call for inclusion of nuclear in defense bill

Murkowski

Booker

A bipartisan group of 20 senators sent a letter last week to Sens. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Jack Reed (D., R.I.), the committee’s ranking member, urging the inclusion of S. 903, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), in S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The letter was spearheaded by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Cory Booker, (D., N.J.). Murkowski and Booker introduced NELA on September 6, 2018 (NN, Oct. 2018, p. 39).

Lawmakers urge NRC to expedite advanced reactor rulemaking

A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to accelerate the completion of a rulemaking that would establish a technology-inclusive regulatory framework for advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

In a May 15 letter to NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki, Sens. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) note that the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA)—signed into law by President Trump in January 2019—requires the NRC to, among other things, complete a rulemaking to license and regulate these technologies no later than December 31, 2027.