Republican, Democrat introduce House bill on advanced nuclear development

House Energy and Commerce Committee members Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) have introduced H.R. 4979, the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016.

The bipartisan legislation will help provide the regulatory structure needed for safe, advanced nuclear energy technologies to play an important role in the U.S. energy portfolio, the House members said in an April 19 news release.

About a week earlier in the Senate a nuclear regulatory modernization bill was proposed by several Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The House bill identifies advanced reactors as nuclear fission reactors with significant design improvements over the most recent generation of nuclear reactors. Such improvements could include inherent safety features, lower waste yields, greater fuel utilization, superior reliability, resistance to proliferation, and increased thermal efficiency.

The bill would have the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Department of Energy (DOE) enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on advanced reactor technology projects.

The bill would have NRC present to congress a program for an efficient, “risk-informed, technology-neutral framework” for advanced nuclear licensing.

 Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) added, “The NRC functions best when it has the tools to fulfill its mission while allowing innovators in the nuclear industry to thrive. This legislation is forward thinking, and I commend Rep. Latta and Rep. McNerney for leading the charge on ensuring a bright future for new nuclear energy technologies. I look forward to examining the bill in our subcommittee in the very near future.”

“Congress must look to the future of the nuclear industry, and this bill provides the certainty needed for continued private sector innovation, while also providing the NRC a path to safely regulate advanced nuclear technologies,” said Latta. “I am enthusiastic about this legislation and look forward to working with the committee to move the bill forward.”

“Nuclear power provides approximately 60 percent of the carbon –free electricity in the U.S. It’s essential that we invest in clean energy technologies that help us move away from carbon-intensive energy resources,” said McNerney.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.