September 13, 2022, 12:02PMANS News

After more than a year of discussion and planning, American Nuclear Society Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy recently signed an agreement with open research (OR) publisher F1000 (a subsidiary of Taylor & Francis) to create a new publishing platform that adopts F1000’s innovative open research methodology and technology. A generous, sustaining donation from ANS member Sushil C. Jain, P.E., will allow ANS to bring this plan from idea to reality. All content published on the new ANS F1000 platform will be free and open to the public. Both organizations are excited to begin this critical step forward, bringing ANS scholarly publications into the future.

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September 8, 2022, 9:31AMANS News

For the first time in the 23-year history of the Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship, the American Nuclear Society has selected two members to spend a year as “Beltway insiders.” The 2023 Congressional Fellows are Sarah Stevenson, a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering at the University of California–Berkeley, and Joseph Orellana, an engineer at GE-Hitachi.

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August 31, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

As energy security and environmental concerns prompt some countries to increase their reliance on nuclear energy or become first-time adopters of the technology, the U.S. government must decide whether it will offer financing for reactor exports—a move that poses financial risks but could create jobs, address global climate and energy security challenges, and limit Chinese and Russian influence. A new report released on August 25 by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Comparing Government Financing of Reactor Exports: Considerations for U.S. Policy Makers, digs into the history of nuclear reactor financing and delivers recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Matt Bowen, research scholar at the center and the report’s lead author, told Nuclear News, “Given how important financing is to countries considering new reactor construction, as well as the competition that U.S. vendors face from foreign state-owned entities, Congress and the White House should both focus attention on the issue, including policy options to increase U.S. competitiveness.”

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August 25, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Kishida

Having already declared last month his government’s intention to return to service as many as nine idled power reactors in order to ensure stable supplies of energy this winter, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida yesterday called for additional restarts and endorsed the development and construction of next-generation nuclear plants, according to reports from various news outlets, including Nikkei Asia, the Washington Examiner, and the Los Angeles Times.

Kishida made the comments at the second meeting of Japan’s GX (Green Transformation) Implementation Council, a new group tasked with helping the country achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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August 19, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Philippines’ House of Representatives has established a special 25-member committee to focus on nuclear energy.

Within the committee’s purview, according to an August 9 release from the House’s Press and Public Affairs Bureau, are “all matters directly and principally relating to the policies and programs to the production, utilization, and conservation of nuclear energy, including the development of nuclear power infrastructure, as well as interaction of other energy sources with nuclear energy as a reliable, cost competitive, and environment-friendly energy source to ensure energy security consistent with the national interest and the state’s policy of freedom from nuclear weapons.”

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August 12, 2022, 7:25PMPress Releases

LA GRANGE PARK, Ill. – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) President Steven Arndt and ANS CEO and Executive Director Craig Piercy issued the following statement on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022:

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August 8, 2022, 12:20PMPress Releases

The American Nuclear Society (ANS) President Steven Arndt and ANS CEO and Executive Director Craig Piercy issued the following statement on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022:

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August 3, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News

Crowell

Caputo

The Senate last evening confirmed by voice vote Annie Caputo and Bradley R. Crowell to seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, returning the agency to its full, five-member complement. Caputo’s term expires in June 2026, Crowell’s in June 2027.

Nominated by President Biden in May to serve on the commission, Caputo and Crowell appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on June 8 to field questions. On July 27, the EPW Committee unanimously approved both and sent their nominations to the Senate floor.

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August 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Lesko

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R., Ariz.) last week introduced legislation to require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess its nuclear power plant oversight and inspection practices and to implement improvements.

According to a press release from Lesko’s office, the bill—the Advancing Nuclear Regulatory Oversight Act—directs the NRC to report to Congress any policies that it revised or suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic and how these changes impacted the agency’s ability to conduct its oversight duties. In addition, the measure requires the NRC to submit a report identifying improvements to its oversight and inspection programs to maximize efficiency without compromising safety.

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July 29, 2022, 8:55AMNuclear News

In a 243–187 vote, the House of Representatives yesterday passed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, a $280 billion economic competitiveness package aimed at bolstering U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, as well as scientific research and development, including nuclear energy R&D.

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July 28, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently approved, in a 2–1 vote, a recommendation from its staff that could potentially lead to the siting of advanced reactors in more densely populated areas than is permitted for traditional light water units.

NRC chairman Christopher Hanson and David Wright voted in favor of the recommendation, with Jeffery Baran casting the lone “nay” vote. (There are currently two open seats on the five-member commission.)

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July 25, 2022, 3:18PMNuclear NewsAmir A. Bahadori

The June 2017 special report on the ANS Nuclear Grand Challenges (available online at ans.org/challenges/) identified low-dose radiation as a crucial focus area for ANS. Specifically, the challenge is to “Establish the scientific basis for modern low-dose radiation regulation.” This is particularly difficult given the long review cycles associated with International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) recommendations. Additionally, while the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with issuing guidance on radiation exposure standards in the United States, responsibility for implementing and enforcing radiation protection regulations is distributed throughout the federal government. Finally, while it is accepted that tissue reactions (previously called deterministic or nonstochastic effects) exhibit a dose threshold, there is still substantial scientific debate over the shape of the dose response at low doses for stochastic effects, such as cancer. Despite these hurdles, substantial progress has been made over the past five years on the low-dose radiation grand challenge.

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July 19, 2022, 7:07AMRadwaste Solutions

The House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing last week to evaluate the Department of Energy’s approach to research and development on new strategies and technologies to support the nuclear waste cleanup mission of its Office of Environmental Management (EM).

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July 7, 2022, 12:02PMNuclear News

In a much-anticipated vote yesterday, EU lawmakers voted down a resolution objecting to the European Commission’s proposal to add nuclear energy and natural gas to the list of green technologies covered by the EU taxonomy—the classification system used by the European Union to steer private investment toward environmentally sustainable economic projects.

The vote, held during the European Parliament’s July 4–7 plenary session, was 328 opposed to the resolution, 278 in favor, and 33 abstaining. An absolute majority—353 members—was required for the resolution to be passed and the proposal vetoed.

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July 1, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy yesterday announced that it has amended its Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program guidance for the currently open award cycle and extended the deadline for credit applications from July 5 to September 6. The DOE was instructed to establish the $6 billion program by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Biden last November.

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June 30, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The House Appropriations Committee has delivered to the full House the fiscal year 2023 Energy and Water Development bill in a 32–24 vote, along with a notable amendment concerning, among other things, Diablo Canyon, high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), and thorium molten salt reactors. The amendment received a thumbs-up at the committee’s June 28 markup session via voice vote.

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June 28, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has published in the Federal Register a final rule amending the licensing, inspection, special projects, and annual fees it will charge applicants and licensees for fiscal year 2022. A proposed rule on the matter was published for public comment February 23.

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June 24, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear NewsBeth Burmahl

On the road to achieving net-zero by midcentury, low- or no-carbon energy sources that slash carbon dioxide emissions are critical weapons. Nevertheless, the role of nuclear energy—the single largest source of carbon-free electricity—remains uncertain.

Nuclear energy, which provides 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, has been a constant, reliable, carbon-free source for nearly 50 years. But our fleet of nuclear reactors is aging, with more than half of the 92 operating reactors across 29 states at or over 40 years old—the length of the original operating licenses issued to the power plants. While some reactors have been retired prematurely, there are two options for those that remain: retire them or renew their license.

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June 22, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Legislation known as the Thorium Energy Security Act, introduced in Congress last month by U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R., Ala.), would put a halt to the destruction of U.S. stockpiles of uranium-233 and instead would foster its integration into the development of thorium molten salt–cooled reactors, Newsweek reported last week. The act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

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June 21, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has issued a proposed guidance amendment for its $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program in response to a letter last month from California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration suggesting “a few minor adjustments” to the program’s guidance to address “the unique circumstances” of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. (Previously a supporter of the premature 2025 closure of the Avila Beach, Calif., facility, Newsom told the Los Angeles Times in late April that his office would look into using the CNC Program to keep the plant in operation beyond its scheduled closure date, citing climate change and the threat of power shortages in the state.)

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June 16, 2022, 7:24AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Feinstein

Although previously a supporter of Diablo Canyon’s early closure, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein took to the pages of the Sacramento Bee yesterday to endorse life extension for the state’s sole operating nuclear power plant.

Citing projected electricity shortfalls in California due to the effects of climate change, Feinstein writes that “Pacific Gas and Electric Company should reconsider its decision to close Diablo Canyon by 2025. The utility should get the plant relicensed instead, retiring it once the state can replace its production with clean sources.”

The senator continues: “I remain concerned about the lack of long-term storage for spent nuclear fuel and am working to develop better solutions. But at this point, keeping Diablo Canyon open and producing carbon-free energy is more important.”

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June 6, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

This past April, California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed interest in using the federal government’s new $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program to keep Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in operation beyond its scheduled 2025 closure date.

That interest would appear not to have waned, as Newsom’s cabinet secretary, Ana Matosantos, recently sent a three-page letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm requesting some alterations to the program’s language to ensure that Diablo Canyon would be eligible to participate.

The full letter, detailing the requested changes, is available here.

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June 3, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Montana is among the states that have already expressed interest in small modular reactor technology as a possible means of decarbonizing their energy sectors.

Just last year, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law H.B. 273, transferring the power to authorize construction of nuclear power facilities in the state from the public (via referendum) to the legislature.

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May 27, 2022, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that 53 percent of American voters support the construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States, while 31 percent oppose new plants. He further reports that 21 percent strongly favor and 14 percent strongly oppose new nuclear facilities.

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May 24, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency has delivered its report on Uganda’s infrastructure development for a nuclear power program to that country’s government, according to ESI Africa. The online power and energy journal states that the energy demand in the country (population: 43 million) has ballooned in recent years as the nation’s economy has expanded.

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May 18, 2022, 11:59AMNuclear News

A team from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy joined ANS Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Craig Piercy on April 27 for an ANS members–only online event to discuss the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2023 NE budget proposal. The proposed total for the office, $1.675 billion, is more than a $20 million increase from the FY 2022 enacted level of $1.654 billion.

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May 5, 2022, 3:04PMNuclear News

Huff

The Senate has confirmed ANS member Kathryn Huff as the next assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) in the Department of Energy. The bipartisan vote, held earlier this afternoon, was 80–11.

President Biden selected Huff in January to fill the top spot at NE—a post that has been vacant since Rita Baranwal (also an ANS member) announced she was leaving the position on January 8, 2021.

Huff came to the DOE in May of last year to serve as principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy, going on unpaid leave from her position as an associate professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, where she led the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group.

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April 25, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) is expanding its Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP). The program originally included internships, competitive research awards, a postdoctoral research program, and the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station. It will now include a technology curriculum, a professional development program, a graduate fellowship program, and an EM/minority-serving institution shared interest research partnership, the DOE announced on April 14.

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April 25, 2022, 9:28AMANS News

ANS is hosting a webinar titled “Budgeting for the Future of Nuclear” on Wednesday, April 27, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT). Representatives from the Department of Energy will discuss the president’s fiscal year 2023 budget request.

Register Now. The webinar is for ANS members only.

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April 20, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Green pursuit of a low-carbon future absent the introduction of more nuclear power on existing grids is nothing but a fantasy, writes Tristan Justice, a correspondent for the online magazine The Federalist. In an article published on April 15, Justice calls out Apple Inc. for its 2022 Earth Day initiative to donate one dollar for every Apple Pay purchase to the antinuclear World Wildlife Fund, and he claims that Apple is "demonizing" nuclear power while promoting an antinuclear agenda.

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April 19, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA), a nonprofit advocating for advanced nuclear, has announced the publication of a new report, Fission Vision: Doubling Nuclear Energy Production to Meet Clean Energy Needs. According to the April 13 announcement, the United States needs a “focused national effort” to develop and deploy advanced nuclear technologies to help meet midcentury climate goals.

Current U.S. climate targets (set by the Biden administration) include a 50–52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030 and a net-zero–emissions economy by 2050.

Fission Vision answers the question: What is the role advanced nuclear energy could play at a scale and at a pace to help provide safe, reliable, and affordable clean energy?” said Judi Greenwald, NIA’s executive director. “Fission Vision has three objectives: catalyzing a robust U.S. innovation and commercialization ecosystem, ensuring ‘social license’ to operate advanced nuclear energy, and reimagining and integrating advanced nuclear energy with other clean energy sources. If we can achieve these objectives—and we think we can—advanced reactors will play a major role in meeting our climate and energy goals by at least doubling U.S. nuclear energy production by 2050.”

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April 19, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear NewsBill Foster

Foster

New and existing nuclear reactors are among our most powerful tools if we hope to make a meaningful contribution to climate change before 2050. We don’t have a lot of time to reduce emissions to avoid catastrophic warming. It is our responsibility to develop a comprehensive response to address our dependence on fossil fuels, promote sustainable energy use, and invest in new energy technologies.

Science and engineering continue to make great strides in energy-­related technologies such as advanced nuclear reactors, long-­term energy storage, fusion energy, and the safe and secure handling of spent nuclear fuel. Using every viable tool to combat climate change will help ensure a safer world for us and for generations to come.

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April 15, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Notwithstanding the snubbing of nuclear in its recently released Green Bond Framework, the Canadian government is showing support for small modular reactors in its 2022 budget plan, which was presented to the House of Commons by the minister of finance, Chrystia Freeland, on April 7.

According to the Canadian Nuclear Association, “This is the first documented government policy that provides explicit financial support for SMRs as a key solution for climate change.”

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April 13, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Risch

Manchin

Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Jim Risch (R., Idaho) recently introduced the International Nuclear Energy Act of 2022, a measure aimed at developing a strategy to counter the growing influence of Russia and China on the global civil nuclear export market.

Manchin is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Risch is the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Bill basics: The legislation, according to the lawmakers, would:

  • Establish 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 an export working group.

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April 5, 2022, 11:56AMNuclear News

In its latest report on the climate, released yesterday, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declares the need for immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors for the world to stand a realistic chance of limiting the increase in global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

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March 31, 2022, 7:12AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance released a report on March 25 titled “ESG Frameworks and Advanced Nuclear Energy,” discussing how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) frameworks affect advanced nuclear energy technologies. The report, as described in an NIA press release, “includes potential actions the nuclear industry and financial community should consider to promote consistent analytical treatment of nuclear energy within ESG frameworks and efficient access to capital for nuclear investments.”

Need for consistent frameworks: Judi Greenwald, the NIA executive director, explained the need for consistent ESG frameworks, noting that “[n]uclear energy technologies are particularly affected by the inconsistent treatment of some frameworks regarding the ESG attributes of energy technologies. . . . As frameworks are standardized and embedded in policy, if their flaws are not addressed, advanced nuclear energy could be left at a disadvantage in terms of access to capital.”

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March 29, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The White House yesterday released its $5.8 trillion fiscal year 2023 budget proposal, just two weeks after President Biden signed into law H.R. 2471, the FY 2022 omnibus bill that funds the federal government through September 30.

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March 23, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

Having made significant investments in nuclear energy over the past year and a half (including C$27.2 million announced just last week), the Canadian government bewildered nuclear advocates earlier this month with its Green Bond Framework.

Released on March 3, the framework specifically excludes nuclear energy, along with the transportation, exploration, and production of fossil fuels, arms manufacturing, gambling, the manufacture and production of tobacco products, and the manufacture and production of alcoholic beverages.

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March 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Canadian government has announced an investment of C$27.2 million (about $21.6 million) in Westinghouse Electric Canada to support the development of the company’s eVinci microreactor technology.

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, made the announcement on March 17 during a visit to the company’s Burlington, Ontario, facility.

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March 15, 2022, 3:10PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The election last week of Yoon Suk Yeol as president of South Korea has provided a big boost for that nation’s nuclear energy-related stocks. Yoon, of the conservative People Power Party, defeated Lee Jae-myung, of the incumbent liberal Democratic Party, on a pro-nuclear platform. As reported by marketwatch.com, Yoon has promised to “reinvigorate the nuclear-energy industry by reactivating suspended atomic power plants and resuming building new ones.”

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March 14, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The European Union could reduce imports of Russian natural gas by more than a third within a year through a combination of measures that would support energy security and affordability and would be consistent with the European Green Deal, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

“Nobody is under any illusions anymore,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol on announcing the release of the report, A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas. “Russia’s use of its natural gas resources as an economic and political weapon shows Europe needs to act quickly to be ready to face considerable uncertainty over Russian gas supplies next winter. . . . Europe needs to rapidly reduce the dominant role of Russia in its energy markets and ramp up the alternatives as quickly as possible.”

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March 11, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

After offering a small shred of hope that it might be persuaded to keep its remaining power reactors in operation a bit longer to reduce its dependence on Russia for energy, Germany has opted to continue with its nuclear phaseout. The last three operating German reactors, Neckarwestheim-2, Isar-2, and Emsland, are slated for shutdown later this year.

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March 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

After months of negotiations, the House passed a fiscal year 2022 omnibus spending package late Wednesday—the same day that congressional appropriators from both chambers unveiled the long-awaited measure.

Labeled H.R. 2471, the 2,741-page, $1.5 trillion package includes all 12 of the standard annual appropriations bills, providing $730 billion for nondefense programs, a $46 billion (6.7 percent) jump from FY 2021, and $782 billion for defense programs, a $42 billion (5.6 percent) boost. (The bill also includes $13.6 billion to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.)

The House also approved, by voice vote, a stopgap bill to extend government funding to March 15 to give the Senate time to review the omnibus bill and send it to the president’s desk for his signature. At this writing, funding for the federal government runs out tomorrow.

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March 1, 2022, 3:07PMNuclear News

In a major change to its subsequent license renewal process, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week ruled that reviews of SLR applications must rely on a more extensive environmental analysis than that provided by the agency’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (GEIS). According to the ruling, the GEIS, properly understood, does not cover the SLR period.

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February 24, 2022, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

This year has been a good one so far regarding interest from state legislatures in the potential of nuclear energy. Examples reported by Nuclear Newswire include, in January, an Indiana bill to incentivize the construction of small modular reactors, and this month, West Virginia’s repeal of its ban on new nuclear plant construction and legislation in Illinois aimed at achieving the same end in that state. Slipping under our radar until now, however, is a measure in Oklahoma introduced earlier this month that would create a feasibility study to examine the possibility of nuclear power in the Sooner State.

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