New bill aims to bring advanced reactors to economically depressed communities

December 20, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Bipartisan support for nuclear energy continued on Capitol Hill last week as Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), the committee’s ranking member, introduced the Fission for the Future Act of 2021, a measure backing the commercial deployment of advanced nuclear reactors.

Introduced on December 16, the legislation would prioritize communities affected by the closure of coal and other fossil-fueled generating facilities and assist in the reutilization of those sites to deploy advanced nuclear power plants, promoting job growth in economically depressed regions.

Uranium dropped from critical minerals list

November 11, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) this week revealed its draft revised list of critical minerals—those deemed essential to economic and national security—and uranium is not on it.

The list was initially developed in 2018 in response to a December 2017 Trump administration executive order. Uranium was included as one of 35 minerals on that list.

ANS urges Congress to address availability of HALEU for advanced reactor fuel

September 16, 2021, 9:30AMANS News
Click image to enlarge

Congress needs to take swift action to build a domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) to fuel advanced reactors, the American Nuclear Society declares in a September 14 letter to Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), the committee’s ranking member.

Commissioner Caputo to leave NRC on June 30

June 23, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Caputo

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Annie Caputo will depart the agency when her term expires at the end of this month, NRC Chairman Christopher Hanson said yesterday. Her departure will leave the five-seat panel with only three commissioners—the minimum number required for it to conduct business—as former chairman Kristine Svinicki resigned in January of this year.

At this writing, Caputo has not announced her post-NRC plans.

Remaining on the commission are two Democrats, Hanson and Jeff Baran, and one Republican, David Wright. President Biden has not named a replacement for either of the vacancies and can choose only one Democrat, since no more than three commissioners can be from the same political party.

Senate bill introduced to combat global energy poverty

March 29, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

Barrasso

Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), the ranking member of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, earlier this month introduced legislation, the Combating Global Poverty Through Energy Development Act (S. 758), which aims at removing barriers put up by international financial institutions that limit support for both fossil fuel and nuclear energy projects.

“Developing countries desperately need affordable and reliable energy,” said Barrasso. “Instead of using all available energy options, the World Bank would rather score political points by boycotting critical coal, oil and gas projects. The solution to ending energy poverty does not lie in limiting options. Our bill will encourage the World Bank to eliminate barriers to traditional energy resources, or risk losing American taxpayer funding.”

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R., Miss.), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), John Hoeven (R., N.D.), Bill Hagerty (R., Tenn.), John Cornyn (R., Texas), and Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.).

U.S. nuclear in spotlight at Senate hearing

March 26, 2021, 9:32AMNuclear News
Sen Joe Manchin gives his opening statement at the March 25 hearing.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday held a hearing to examine the latest developments in the U.S. nuclear energy sector, with a focus on ways to maintain and expand the use of nuclear in the United States and abroad.

Testifying before the committee were Jeffrey Lyash, president and chief executive officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Chris Levesque, president and CEO of TerraPower, Scott Melbye, president of Uranium Producers of America (UPA); Amy Roma, founding member of the Atlantic Council’s Nuclear Energy and National Security Coalition and a partner with the law firm Hogan Lovells; and J. Clay Sell, CEO of X-energy.

New inspector general confirmed for NRC

May 7, 2020, 2:28PMNuclear News

Robert Feitel, speaking at his December 3, 2019, nomination hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.

The Senate voted unanimously 87–0 on May 4 to confirm Robert Feitel as the inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The position had been vacant since the end of 2018, when the NRC’s longtime IG Hubert T. Bell retired.

A Department of Justice attorney, Feitel was nominated for the job by President Trump in October last year, and in December he was approved by the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, also by unanimous vote.