WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), held its fourth hearing as part of the committee’s ‘DOE Modernization’ series. #SubEnergy members reviewed four bills to address development, regulation, and competitiveness of advanced nuclear energy technologies
#SubEnergy reviewed the following bills:
• H.R. 1320, Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Act
• Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act Discussion Draft
• Nuclear Energy Competitiveness Discussion Draft
• Report on Pilot Program for Micro-Reactors Discussion Draft
“As we have heard throughout Congress, our nation’s international nuclear leadership is eroding. Just last week, a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that nearly a quarter of our nation’s fleet of nuclear power reactors are at risk of early closure in the next few years,” said Chairman Upton. “These 24 at-risk reactors total over six percent of the total electricity generated in the United States, about how much electricity is consumed in Michigan and Illinois combined. If we are serious about an all-of-the-above energy strategy and the value of a diverse, clean energy portfolio, the implications of this threat cannot be ignored.”
Chairman Upton delivers his opening remarks
In his opening statement, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden said, “The bills we will examine provide key ingredients to enhance a core national security and energy security mission of the Department, and of the nation: promoting the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology.”
“When Congress first authorized the commercial application of atomic energy in 1954, it declared: the ‘development, use, and control of atomic energy shall be directed so as to promote world peace, improve the general welfare, increase the standard of living, and strengthen free competition in private enterprise.’ That policy remains as relevant today and as important as ever,” he added.
In his testimony, Mr. Ed McGinnis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, told #SubEnergy, “Strong bipartisan support is critical to our collective efforts to revitalize and expand our Nation’s nuclear energy sector. The Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to working closely with this Subcommittee to build our nuclear energy revitalization, and we are working hard to fully leverage DOE’s world class national laboratories in strong partnership with U.S. universities and industry.”
The Honorable Brent Park, Deputy Administrator, Defense Nuclear Proliferation, National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, discussed the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) requirements for a reliable supply of strategic materials, including enriched uranium, to accomplish its missions. “The Department agrees with the Committee’s concern regarding the availability of HA-LEU fuels and recognizes industry’s need for HA-LEU fuels in support of advanced nuclear technologies,” he testified.
The Honorable Brent Park and Mr. Ed McGinnis listen to members’ opening statements
The Honorable Jeffrey S. Merrifield, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, on behalf of ClearPath Action, focused on opportunities for growth and export of U.S. nuclear technologies, remarking, “Over the last several decades, at both the state and federal level, significant incentives, grants and portfolio standards have been established to support renewable power programs, namely wind and solar. While that has helped to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio with additional carbon free generation, these policies gave short shrift to the clean energy benefits of nuclear power. I commend this Committee as well as the Trump Administration for recognizing the need for our nation to have a balanced energy portfolio and that the clean and reliable power that nuclear energy provides to our nation deserves equal standing and support.”
Ms. Melissa Mann, President, URENCO USA, Incorporated, on behalf of U.S. Nuclear Industry Council, applauded the “Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act,” stating, “The ‘Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act’ is a significant step in advancing the development of advanced reactor and fuel technologies as it recognizes the critical importance of the fuel cycle in enabling the deployment of these innovative designs.”
Mr. Nick Irvin, Director, Research and Development for Strategy, Advanced Nuclear, and Crosscutting Technology, Southern Company, spoke to the importance of nuclear energy competitiveness, commenting, “Nuclear technology is a global market, and the United States is in imminent danger of ceding leadership to our international competitors, as China and Russia and others aggressively pursue market opportunities in the developing world. These overseas markets, and the export of clean, safe American nuclear technology, would provide efficiencies of scale that would support a nuclear manufacturing and engineering infrastructure that can simultaneously create American jobs and improve national security by allowing the U.S. to continue to influence worldwide nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation policies.”
The Majority Memorandum, witness testimony, and an archived webcast are available online HERE.