Bipartisan E&C Leaders Request Information on Ensuring Safe, Efficient and Predictable Nuclear Energy Regulation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Energy, Climate, & Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) last week requested information from nuclear energy stakeholders on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) regulatory efforts to ensure safe, efficient, predictable regulation for the nuclear industry in the U.S. 

Why It Matters: A strong energy mix is how we ensure our economic and national security, and nuclear power plays a key role in providing carbon-free power for our nation’s grid. It’s vital that we encourage regulatory certainty and evaluate the NRC licensing processes to ensure safe, efficient, predictable regulation for the civil nuclear industry. The NRC plays a critical role in overseeing the safety and security of our nation’s nuclear technologies. Nuclear stakeholder feedback will be critical as the Committee works to review the current NRC licensing process to ensure we can provide abundant, clean, safe, and affordable nuclear energy for Americans and our allies. 

Excerpts and highlights from the letter to nuclear stakeholders: 

“Pursuant to the Committee’s responsibilities over the regulation of nuclear energy, its Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security will pursue this Congress oversight activity and legislative proposals relating to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and its reactor licensing and oversight activities. This work will build upon recent Congressional efforts to ensure the licensing, regulation, and oversight of the civil nuclear industry is predictable, efficient, risk-informed, performance based, and protective of public health and safety. 

“Congress stated in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that the use of civilian nuclear energy shall be directed ‘to make the maximum contribution to the general welfare, subject at all times to the paramount objective of making the maximum contribution to the common defense and security.’ It stated further that ‘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.’ 

“To achieve these policy goals, NRC’s licensing and regulatory activities must focus on providing reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public health and safety. Our objective is to identify what makes sense for a modern regulator to assure efficient, predictable regulation that provides for a robust and growing nuclear industry, consistent with the goals of the Atomic Energy Act. 

“To assist the Subcommittee’s considerations, we invite you to submit to the Committee information and recommendations to improve the licensing review and approval process, as well as the oversight of NRC licensees. We are interested in NRC activities involving the licensing and oversight of today’s operating reactors as well as the siting, licensing, construction, and oversight of advanced nuclear reactor technologies. We also seek information and recommendations about improving NRC efficiency, management of regulatory costs and fees, public health and safety, staff effectiveness and culture, collaboration with the Department of Energy, and international activities. We invite comment on other issues that may be pertinent to regulation or deployment of nuclear reactor technologies. 

We ask that you provide initial submissions by May 5, 2023. You may contact Peter Spencer, of the Majority Committee staff, or Tuley Wright, of the Minority Committee staff, with questions concerning this request. We look forward to your comments and recommendations.” 

CLICK HERE to read the letters.