WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and the Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) today held a joint hearing examining the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Fiscal Year 2019 budget request.
Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke to the enormous potential in the development of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology, including NuScale located in Oregon and asked NRC Chairman Svinicki to provide an update on the NRC’s review of the SMR design application and any outstanding licensing requirements. Chairman Svinicki stated, “As you note, the NuScale design was docketed for review and although we are in early days and early months of that review, the staff is proceeding on schedule with what we call interim milestones of the review… There are policy issues being resolved regarding both NuScale and Small Modular Reactors broadly but those have high visibility within the agency. I would assess that the NRC staff has scoped the universe of those issues and there are policy resolution plans for each of them.”
The three current NRC Commissioners testify before #SubEnvironment and #SubEnvironment
In his questioning, #SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) highlighted the potential benefits of new nuclear reactor designs and modernizing systems with digital technologies. Chairman Svinicki replied, “It will be essential for the NRC to develop a working framework for the adoption of digital I&C technologies.” Commissioner Burns recognized the fact that, “The newer digital controls have benefits. I’ve seen it from when I’ve gone to power plants… What we have to do, and what I believe the chairman was alluding to was that we need to keep on our staff in terms of working with the industry in terms of getting over some of the humps…”
#SubEnvironment Chairman Shimkus noted, “I very much appreciate that last year the commission, for the first time since 2010 requested funding to resume its review of the pending Yucca Mountain license application, as required by law. While it is still incumbent on Congress to provide the funding, it is refreshing to see an administration that is committed to following the law. To gain the public’s confidence in nuclear energy, we must have a functioning nuclear waste management program.”
- The full committee passed H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, in June of 2017 by a vote of 49-4.
- H.R. 3053, provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligation to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste will be fulfilled.
“As we consider the future of nuclear power generation, we should not forget the industry’s invaluable benefits to our nation’s national security interests. The technological infrastructure of our nuclear industry supports the nuclear security posture of our nuclear navy, nonproliferation programs, and nuclear leadership over the safe, secure operation of nuclear facilities around the world,” concluded #SubEnergy Chairman Upton. “As we heard at a subcommittee hearing last month, that position should not be taken for granted; a weakening domestic nuclear industry threatens our international credibility and leadership.”
A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found online HERE.