May 20, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is issuing a final rule and corresponding update to the generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) the agency uses when considering applications to renew the operating licenses of nuclear power reactors. All four current NRC commissioners voted to approve the rule on May 16.

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May 14, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

A bill being considered in the U.S. Senate seeks to remove the requirement for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hold a public hearing for every nuclear reactor application.

Current law requires public hearings to be held by the NRC toward the end the reactor license application process, in addition to the statutorily required environmental and safety reviews that provide public engagement opportunities for stakeholders and citizens.

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May 2, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News

Padilla

Sen. Alex Padilla (D., Calif.) introduced the Fusion Energy Act (S. 4151) last month with a bipartisan group of cosponsors—John Cornyn (R., Texas), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Todd Young (R., Ind.), and Patty Murray (D., Wash.). The legislation would codify the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulatory authority over commercial fusion energy systems to streamline the creation of clear federal regulations that will support the development of commercial fusion power plants—and would require a report within one year on a study of risk- and performance-based, design-specific licensing frameworks for “mass-manufactured fusion machines.”

“Congress must do everything in its power to ensure continued U.S. leadership in developing commercial fusion energy facilities,” said Padilla as he introduced the bill. “The Fusion Energy Act would provide regulatory certainty for investors as the NRC develops and streamlines frameworks for such facilities.”

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May 1, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The U.S. Senate approved April 30—by unanimous consent—a bill banning the importation of Russian uranium. The House of Representatives passed the bill, House Resolution 1042, last fall, and now President Biden is expected to sign it into law.

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April 30, 2024, 3:24PMNuclear News

A review from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week denied a challenge to the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s license renewal application extension granted by the federal government.

In late 2023, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission agreed to formally docket the California plant’s request to extend plant operations beyond the current license expiration dates of 2024 and 2025 for the two respective units.

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April 23, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is issuing a proposed generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) for use in reviewing applications for new nuclear reactors.

In an April 17 memo, NRC secretary Carrie Safford wrote that the commission approved NRC staff’s recommendation to publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule amending 10 CFR Part 51, “Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions.”

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Is a new generic repository standard on the horizon?

April 16, 2024, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

Funding in President Biden’s proposed fiscal year 2025 budget may signal movement toward the promulgation of a new generic Environmental Protection Agency standard for high-level nuclear waste repositories in the United States.

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April 8, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Beshear

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed legislation last week that would have supported a push to bring nuclear energy to the Bluegrass State.

The governor said his objection to Senate Bill 198 is due to how voting members for the Kentucky Nuclear Energy Development Authority would be selected—and that it is not a reflection on his views toward nuclear power. The bill as written would designate members of the board from the private sector, bypassing the appointment authority of the governor or other state constitutional officers.

“The legislature can’t just say, ’You in this position in the private sector and you in that position on a private sector association are automatically on a board,’ and then [be] given governing authority,” Beshear said at a news conference. “That’s not the way the executive branch works, not the way that the power can be delegated to carry out the law.”

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April 4, 2024, 9:26AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Regulatory Information Conference—“the RIC” as it’s commonly known—is an annual rite of spring for many nuclear energy professionals. Each year, 2,000 industry people crowd into the Montgomery County Conference Center to hear the commissioners give their annual plenary speeches, attend technical sessions on regulatory topics, and kibitz with friends in the expansive foyer during breaks.

And as always, there are two distinct conversations at the RIC: the one that emanates from the stage, and the other that unfurls organically in the hallways. The official conversation is in the public record for anyone to read or watch. The hallway topic du jour this year was Part 53 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, of course—specifically, the Staff Requirements Memo (SRM) handed down by the commission the week before that instructed staff to produce a new proposed rule for public comment and set a six-month countdown clock to finish it.

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April 2, 2024, 3:06PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy issued new guidance this week for converting coal-fired plants to nuclear units—an idea that has gained traction in recent years as the United States looks to cut carbon emissions.

A 2022 DOE study found potential for more than 300 coal-to-nuclear conversions across the country. While the process is complex, it would result in significant environmental and reliability benefits to the grid.

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March 28, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Kentucky’s Republican-majority legislature passed a bill this past week that could bring nuclear energy to the “coal-is-king” state as lawmakers broadly seek solutions to reduce carbon emissions. The bill went to Democratic Gov. Andrew Beshear on Monday for final approval.

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Nuclear Science and Technology professionals share thoughts on repowering Palisades nuclear power plant

March 27, 2024, 9:35AMPress Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. The American Nuclear Society (ANS), a nonprofit representing over 10,000 professionals in the fields of nuclear science and technology, issued the following statements regarding today’s announcement of a $1.5 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for repowering the shuttered Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert Township, Michigan.

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March 22, 2024, 1:39PMNuclear News

A minibus appropriations bill—the second produced this month by Congress—emerged from conference negotiations yesterday with language that would extend the Price-Anderson Act—legislation first enacted in 1954 that makes it possible for nuclear power producers to seek insurance from the private marketplace. Today the House of Representatives voted 286–134 to approve the minibus package of six fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills, and the Senate is expected to vote today, too. By extending the Price-Anderson Act—now set to expire in 2025—Congress can support the current U.S. power reactor fleet and pave the way for new reactor deployments.

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March 22, 2024, 12:02PMNuclear News

International leaders and government representatives from nations that are operating or interested in operating nuclear power plants adopted a Nuclear Energy Declaration on March 21 at the first-ever Nuclear Energy Summit, hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Belgian government in Brussels, Belgium.

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March 18, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Manhattan Project may have begun more than 80 years ago, but it’s still in the news—and not just because of Oppenheimer’s recent haul at the Academy Awards. On March 7, the Senate passed S. 3853, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Reauthorization Act, by a vote of 69 to 30, sending the bill to the House. It’s Sen. Josh Hawley's (R., Mo.) second attempt to reauthorize the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)—which was first enacted in 1990 to address the legacy of U.S. nuclear weapons production—before it expires in June. The bill would extend the deadline to claim compensation by five years and expand it from the dozen states now covered to include individuals exposed to radiation in certain regions of Missouri, Alaska, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

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March 15, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and the U.K. Office for Nuclear Regulation have signed a memorandum of cooperation to collaborate on technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technologies.

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March 12, 2024, 3:59PMNuclear News

The White House asked for nearly $1.6 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy in the fiscal year 2025 budget proposal, released earlier this week. The requested funding is about 10 percent lower than the FY 2024 budget appropriation but still requires congressional review and approval.

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March 12, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new report from the Breakthrough Institute has identified challenges and offers recommendations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for fostering inclusive and transparent dialogue and engagement with the public.

Improving Nuclear Regulatory Commission Engagement: Enhancement to Ensure Transparency and Collaboration with the Public notes that despite recent agency efforts at improving public engagement, such as through website upgrades and additional community meetings, the NRC still tends to prioritize technical jargon and complex procedures rather than offer clear, accessible communication. This leads to alienating the interested public, including community members and other stakeholders, and fostering misconceptions.

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March 8, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to publish a proposed rule and draft guidance surrounding licenses for advanced reactors—the first regulatory framework developed uniquely for advanced technologies and designs.

NRC staff has been instructed to establish a licensing process for commercial nuclear power plants that is risk-informed, performance-based, and technology-inclusive.

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March 6, 2024, 8:29AMNuclear News

A bipartisan group of lawmakers passed legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives this week in support of nuclear energy production.

H. R. 6544 emerged from the chamber following a 365–36 vote. The legislation would speed up environmental reviews for new nuclear projects and reduce fees for advanced nuclear reactor licenses. It would also update the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the industry’s legal liability for nuclear accidents, by extending it for 40 years as well as increasing the indemnity coverage—changes advocated for by the American Nuclear Society in recent position statement updates.

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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.

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February 28, 2024, 3:24PMNuclear NewsReps. Byron Donalds and Brandon Williams

Rep. Brandon Williams

Rep. Byron Donalds

For many Americans, the word “radiation” is often associated with fear of the unknown, yet the medical and scientific reality is that radiation is ever present in nature and is beneficial to human life. The truth behind radiation historically has been distorted and stigmatized—even the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recognizes that “radiation is naturally present in our environment, as it has been since before the birth of this planet.”

To embrace a responsible, low-carbon energy future, the American public should be aware of the beneficial applications of radiation instead of fearing it due to unsubstantiated hysteria generated by opponents of responsible nuclear energy.

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February 28, 2024, 12:02PMNuclear News

Kentucky’s Senate voted unanimously this week to create a state agency that would study opportunities to bring nuclear energy projects to the state, where coal production has long dominated the power sector.

Senate Bill 198 would establish the Kentucky Nuclear Energy Development Authority, attached to the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research and governed by an advisory board with members representing various stakeholder groups.

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February 22, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking for feedback on proposed changes to the annual, licensing, inspection, and special projects fees for fiscal year 2024.

The proposed fee rule, published February 20 in the Federal Register, is based on the FY 2024 Congressional Budget Justification as a full-year appropriation, but it has not yet been enacted. The final rule will be based on the NRC’s actual appropriation, and the agency will update the final fee schedule as appropriate.

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February 22, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

Earlier this month, Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher T. Hanson sent a letter to the agency’s general counsel, Brooke P. Clark, saying “a fresh look at the mandatory hearing process is warranted.” Hanson directed the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) “to identify efficiencies in these mandatory hearings that will enable the commission to fulfill its statutory obligations while it promotes the responsible stewardship of time and resources,” and gave the office 60 days to provide a paper outlining applicable requirements and options.

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February 20, 2024, 3:46PMNuclear News

A seminal new report by the Southeast Nuclear Advisory Council and E4 Carolinas has identified the significant economic impact of the nuclear industry within the southeastern United States. The report, The Economic Impact of the Nuclear Industry in the Southeast United States, provides a baseline for future research into the crucial role nuclear power plants play in shaping regional economies and facilitating the shift to clean energy.

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February 16, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

Officials from the United States and Bulgaria inked a deal this week to cooperate as Bulgaria further develops its civil nuclear power program.

A working group will explore plans to design, construct, and commission two new units at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant. The two countries will also “explore collaboration on research and training programs and developing Bulgaria's nuclear supply chain resilience,” according to reports.

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February 15, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Donalds

Fleischmann

Two U.S. representatives—Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.)—have published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that calls for the United States to seize “the current nuclear economic opportunity worldwide” and “once again be the world leader in nuclear power.” The congressmen emphasize that “it is in the best interest of the United States and the rest of the world for our country, instead of China and Russia, to be the preferred partner for embarking nuclear nations.”

Atoms for Peace: Fleischmann and Donalds argue that President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in 1953 established the foundational principles for the domestic and global success of the U.S. civil nuclear energy industry—and they urge the nation to reclaim those principles now. They point to the numerous benefits of nuclear energy, ranging from economic development to desalination to sustainable fuel creation, and note that the “global market is ripe for nuclear technology.”

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February 14, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

ANS’s fully open research platform Nuclear Science and Technology Open Research (NSTOR) has two collections forming that aim to capture opinions and data on cross-cutting policy topics.

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February 12, 2024, 4:37PMNuclear News

Two weeks remain for public comments on the proposed language in the new federal rules proposed for hydrogen production tax credits. A public hearing on the regulations is scheduled for March 25, 2024.

While the federal proposal is largely popular among environmentalists and some pronuclear advocates, there are concerns from others that it would cut out opportunities for existing legacy nuclear plants that are well-equipped to convert part of their operations to hydrogen production. The proposed rules require hydrogen to come from newly built resources—the largest obstacle for legacy nuclear sites but further incentive to deploy new reactors—and would permit using natural gas if employed with carbon capture and sequestration.

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February 12, 2024, 7:21AMANS News

On February 5, the application process has officially opened for the Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship. The American Nuclear Society invites its members to apply for the fellowship, which helps the Society fulfill its strategic goal of enhancing nuclear public policy. Fellows work on energy legislation in the halls of Congress as a representative of ANS, either in a congressional member’s personal office or with a committee.

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February 9, 2024, 9:31AMRadwaste Solutions

Carbajal

Levin

Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Salud Carbajal (D., Calif.) have reintroduced the 100 Year Canister Life Act, which requires nuclear waste canisters to have a design life of at least 100 years. Levin last introduced the bill in 2022, where it died in committee.

Introduced into the House on January 31, the bill (H.R. 7172) would prohibit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from issuing or renewing any certificate of compliance or license for a dry storage cask for spent nuclear fuel without a finding that the cask “can safely operate with spent nuclear fuel for a period of at least 100 years.” Current NRC regulations set the lifespan requirement of dry storage casks at 40 years.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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January 24, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

A proposed energy bill that the French government is scheduled to consider in early February is generating a great deal of controversy. If approved by the cabinet, the bill will go next to lawmakers in parliament for their consideration. However, the wording of the draft bill has been going through changes due to a controversy over nuclear energy versus renewables.

Early draft: A draft of the bill released on January 8 seemed to prioritize nuclear energy over renewable energy sources, including solar and wind. According to a January 9 report by France 24, the bill asserted “the sustainable choice of using nuclear energy as a competitive and carbon-free” source of electricity, and it set specific goals for nuclear energy, such as the construction of between six and 14 new nuclear reactors as a crucial step toward meeting climate change goals.

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January 22, 2024, 9:30AMANS News

The ANS Public Policy Committee (PPC) approached the Board of Directors last November seeking approval of revisions to two position statements.

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January 8, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

New guidelines for federal hydrogen production tax credits may leave legacy nuclear plants out in the cold.

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have released proposed language about who would qualify for the 45V Clean Hydrogen Production Tax Credit created by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The public comment period on the proposal is open until February 26.

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January 3, 2024, 12:01PMANS News

At the ANS Winter Conference and Expo this past November, the ANS Board of Directors approved the creation of two new student sections—for the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) in California and the University of Wyoming (UW) in Laramie, Wyo.

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December 23, 2023, 3:30PMNuclear News

A bipartisan group of nine House members is calling on the Department of Energy to give “fair, full, and swift consideration” to Holtec International’s application for DOE Loan Programs Office funding to restart the company’s Palisades nuclear plant, closed last year by the facility’s previous owner, Entergy.

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December 22, 2023, 7:02AMANS Nuclear CafeSeth Grae

What happened at COP28, the annual United Nations climate event held this year in Dubai, was the greatest outpouring of global support for nuclear power the world has seen since the thunderous reception to Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace call exactly 70 years ago. For the first time, nuclear energy was specifically mentioned in the closing statement of a COP event as one possible way to combat climate change.

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December 11, 2023, 12:13PMNuclear News

Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker returned to the good graces of the nuclear community last Friday, signing H.B. 2473, a bill that partially lifts the state’s decades-long moratorium on new nuclear power builds by permitting the construction of small modular reactors.

Pritzker had vetoed similar legislation, S.B. 76, in August, saying in a veto message that the bill included an overly broad definition of “advanced reactors,” which would “open the door to the proliferation of large-scale nuclear reactors that are so costly to build that they will cause exorbitant ratepayer-funded bailouts.” Pritzker had also asserted that S.B. 76 lacked “regulatory protections or updates to address the health and safety of Illinois residents who would live and work around these new reactors.”

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December 5, 2023, 7:21AMNuclear News

As expected, a large number of nations at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai have issued a declaration to triple the world’s nuclear power capacity by 2050. John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, joined leaders and ministers from four continents on Saturday to announce the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy.

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U.S.-endorsed declaration commits to tripling the world’s nuclear energy capacity by 2050

December 2, 2023, 11:56AMPress Releases

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Statement from American Nuclear Society (ANS) Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy on the launching of the “Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy” by the United States and twenty-one other countries during the World Climate Action Summit of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):

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November 21, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final rule and associated regulatory guide applying risk-informed, performance-based emergency preparedness (EP) requirements to small modular reactors and other new technologies (ONT).

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November 20, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

The United States and the Philippines last week signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement—known in policy wonk jargon as a 123 Agreement.

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November 9, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News

While an initial bill aimed at lifting the decades-old ban on new nuclear construction in Illinois was vetoed in August by Gov. J. B. Pritzker, the state’s nuclear-friendly legislature is giving the effort another shot, opting to pursue new legislation rather than a veto override.

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November 3, 2023, 7:56AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society coordinated an effort with eight nongovernmental organizations in asking Congress to update the Environmental Protection Agency’s generic standards for the safe, permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste.

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November 1, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

With a new speaker finally seated, the GOP-led House of Representatives recently passed the fiscal year 2024 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394) in a near–party line vote of 210–199. A lone Republican—Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado—opposed the measure, as did all voting Democrats.

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October 31, 2023, 7:19AMNuclear News

At a legislative markup session last week, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee approved 17 energy bills for consideration by the full E&C committee, including 12 measures to boost and streamline the deployment of nuclear power. The nuclear-related bills cleared the subcommittee by voice vote with bipartisan support.

“Our shared goal in this committee is to advance bipartisan, durable policy that will expand nuclear energy and its benefits for the nation,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), chair of the E&C’s Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee, in his opening remarks on October 24. “Chair Rodgers, ranking members Pallone and DeGette, and I sent a bipartisan request for information to a variety of stakeholders this past April. Based on feedback from this request and the hearings we’ve had since, it’s clear that more can be done to modernize the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy to advance nuclear energy in this country.”

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October 16, 2023, 9:15AMNuclear NewsJames Conca

Barnard

It’s late March 2023, and freshman state Rep. Stephanie Barnard (R., 8th Dist.) moves quickly through the halls of the capitol building in Olympia, Wash. She enters a room packed with state legislators—both Democrats and Republicans—who are waiting for a meeting to begin.

The event is part of the recently formed Nuclear Energy Caucus, and the featured speaker is Carol Browner, director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy under President Obama and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. The meeting is a success, with animated discussion following Browner’s address.

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