Policy


Post-Fukushima safety enhancements

April 2, 2021, 2:47PMNuclear NewsLeah Parks, Carl Mazzola, Jim Xu, and Brent Gutierrez
A map of Japan highlighting the Fukushima prefecture.

March 11 will mark the 10-­year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi event, when a 45-­foot tsunami, caused by the 9.0-­magnitude Great Tohoku Earthquake, significantly damaged the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In response to this event, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission took actions to evaluate and mitigate beyond-­design-­basis events, including a new requirement for the staging of so-­called Flex equipment, as well as changes to containment venting and improvements to emergency preparedness. The U.S. Department of Energy also addressed beyond-­design-­basis events in its documented safety analyses.

Biden administration releases plan to build back U.S. infrastructure

April 1, 2021, 12:03PMEdited April 2, 2021, 6:09AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Biden

President Biden introduced a $2 trillion American Jobs Plan on Wednesday to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure as part of his “Build Back Better” campaign pledge. His plan is ambitious: “It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” Biden said. “It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”

According to Axios, the policy would be “the most far-reaching federal investment to date in programs that would help curb greenhouse gas emissions. But it faces serious challenges in the closely divided Congress.”

Ohio bill repealing nuclear subsidies signed by governor

March 31, 2021, 12:03PMNuclear News

The final nail in the coffin of Ohio’s nuclear subsidies occurred on March 31 when Gov. Mike DeWine signed H.B. 128, a bill passed unanimously by the state’s Senate last Thursday.

Approved 86-7 by the Ohio House on March 10, H.B. 128 strips the nuclear subsidy provisions from H.B. 6, the controversial and, since last July, scandal-scarred piece of legislation signed into law in 2019 to aid Ohio’s economically challenged nuclear facilities, Davis-Besse and Perry.

H.B. 128 also removes the earlier bill’s “decoupling” provision, which would have been of substantial financial benefit to FirstEnergy Corporation, the former parent company of Energy Harbor, owner and operator of Davis-Besse and Perry. The new bill retains H.B. 6’s subsidies for utility-scale solar projects, however, and for two coal plants (one in Ohio, one in Indiana).

H.B. 128 was sponsored by Reps. James Hoops (R., 81st Dist.) and Dick Stein (R., 57th Dist.).

Bill to preserve Illinois nuclear fleet debuts

March 31, 2021, 5:00AMNuclear News
Exelon's Byron Nuclear Generating Station.

A group of Illinois lawmakers joined Joe Duffy, executive director of the labor coalition Climate Jobs Illinois (CJI), at a virtual news conference on March 29 to unveil a union-focused, clean energy legislative proposal that includes help for the state’s struggling nuclear power plants.

Past DOE Nuclear Energy officials hold panel discussion for ANS

March 30, 2021, 3:00PMANS News

Five former assistant secretaries of energy for the Office of Nuclear Energy—a position given the designation “NE-1”—gathered for a virtual panel discussion hosted by the American Nuclear Society on March 26. Rita Baranwal, John Kotek, Peter Lyons, William D. Magwood, and Warren “Pete” Miller each participated in the free event that was moderated by Benjamin Reinke, the former executive director in the secretary of energy’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy.

Leaked report says EU can tag nuclear investments as sustainable

March 30, 2021, 6:57AMNuclear News

Within the European Union, recognizing nuclear energy as green, sustainable, and worthy of investment depends on nuclear being added to the EU taxonomy of “sustainable investments that have been found to ‘do no significant harm’ to human health and to the environment.” The EU will issue a final taxonomy this year, and a decision to include nuclear power—which was excluded from a draft released in late 2020—could raise prospects for public and private nuclear investments both inside and outside the EU.

The decision rests with the European Commission (EC), which will take into consideration expert opinions, including those in a scientific report of the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) that was requested last summer. The JRC's 387-page report, Technical assessment of nuclear energy with respect to the ‘do no significant harm’ criteria of Regulation (EU) 2020/852 (‘Taxonomy Regulation’), was leaked to the media and made available online on March 26. The report supports adding nuclear to the taxonomy.

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.

The NRC: Observations on commissioner appointments

February 26, 2021, 4:59PMNuclear NewsSteven P. Nesbit and Paul T. Dickman

In 2015, we wrote an article for Nuclear News analyzing the history of commissioners appointed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and assessing their backgrounds, experience, and qualifications at the time of their appointment. At the time, ANS had not established a formal position statement on NRC commissioner appointees. Our article provided an objective assessment of historical patterns and was used to develop ANS position statement #77, The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2016). This article draws upon the 2015 article and provides updated data and analysis. Also, the recommendations of the position statement are applied to the current vacancy on the commission.