President Signs Bipartisan Nuclear Energy Legislation into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment Public Works (EPW) Committee, and EPW chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), along with Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), released the following statements on the president’s signing of S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA). The senators were cosponsors of the bipartisan nuclear legislation.

“Nuclear power serves as our nation’s largest source of reliable, carbon-free energy, which can help combat the negative impacts of climate change and at the same time, foster economic opportunities for Americans,” said Ranking Member Carper. “If we are smart, we will replace our aging nuclear reactors with new technology developed in this country that is safer, produces less spent fuel and is cheaper to build and operate. I want to thank Senator Barrasso for working with me on this important bipartisan legislation that supports advanced nuclear reactors and ensures the United States remains on the cutting edge. This is another important step in our fight against climate change.”

“I applaud President Trump for signing this significant nuclear energy legislation into law,” said Chairman Barrasso. “This law will make sure the United States remains a leader of nuclear energy innovation. Nuclear energy not only creates jobs but is critical if we are going to reduce carbon emissions in a meaningful way. The law will bring greater transparency and accountability to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s spending. Additionally, it will establish a licensing process for advanced nuclear reactors and other new technologies. I want to thank members of Congress for coming together to pass this important legislation.”

“It’s important that the United States remain a leader in technological innovation, and I’m glad that my House colleagues also recognize the importance of growing our nuclear industry to meet the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century,” said Capito, chair of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee. “It’s great to see this bipartisan legislation head to the president’s desk so we can maintain the availability of diverse, reliable, and affordable sources of electricity for the American people.”

“A new generation of nuclear technology could help tackle the serious climate threats we face, and may even help address the challenge of nuclear waste.  That’s why it’s important to update the federal government’s outdated approval process for new nuclear technologies,” said Whitehouse, ranking member of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee. “I am proud to have worked with this bipartisan group on this bill, which will give our nuclear regulator the flexibility it needs to bring new, safe reactors online to produce carbon-free energy.”

“The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act is critical for the revitalization and improvement of our nation’s nuclear energy industry,” Inhofe said. “Nuclear energy has played an important role in the complex energy network of our country, but as we work to improve upon and modernize nuclear power plants, it’s important that we reform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reflect the future of the industry as well. By creating a new licensing framework for advanced reactors, and adjusting the fee structure as it applies to both traditional nuclear power plants and innovative reactors, NEIMA ensures that the NRC will operate efficiently, in turn allowing us to take full advantage of our country’s important nuclear fleet. I am proud Congress passed this bill and I look forward to the president’s signature.”

“The research being completed at Idaho National Lab to develop modern, clean and efficient energy contributes immensely to our nation’s domestic energy portfolio,” said Crapo. “This bipartisan measure is important for Idaho because it will help ensure that the work being done at Idaho’s National Lab will have a path through to the commercial market. NEIMA pushes the NRC to modernize so that it has the ability to license advanced reactors in a safe, timely, and transparent manner.”

“This is a strong bipartisan bill that is going to help ensure electricity prices stay affordable for families in Nebraska. It also makes common sense reforms to promote the development of nuclear technology so our nation can utilize a variety of energy sources. The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act cuts federal red tape to keep our country competitive,” said Fischer.

“As we seek to secure and advance nuclear energy in the United States, it is imperative that we have licensing processes that are predictable and efficient while prioritizing safety and environmental responsibility. Nuclear will be a key piece of our nation’s clean energy future and I am pleased to see this legislation signed into law,” Manchin said.

NEIMA will provide the public greater clarity into the process by which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) develops its budget and recovers its costs through fees. The bill requires the NRC to establish performance metrics and milestones for licensing and other regulatory actions.  NEIMA requires the commission to develop a regulatory framework for America’s innovators, who seek to deploy advanced nuclear technologies. Finally, the bill directs the NRC to establish a pilot project to provide uranium producers predictable fees for routine licensing matters. The legislation has received broad support from stakeholders.

NEIMA was also cosponsored by Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and James Risch (R-Idaho).

On March 22, 2017, the EPW committee passed NEIMA. On December 20, 2018, the Senate passed the bill by voice vote.

For more information on NEIMA, click HERE.