APPA, Others Urge Lawmakers To Include Nuclear Measure In Defense Legislation

June 12, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted June 12, 2020

The American Public Power Association and several utility and nuclear industry stakeholders recently urged the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to include legislation that would accelerate the commercialization of a new generation of nuclear reactors in the fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The June 9 letter was sent to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Ranking Member of the committee.

APPA and the other stakeholders urged Inhofe and Reed to include the bipartisan Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (S. 903) in the FY2021 NDAA.

The bipartisan committee amendment on nuclear energy filed by several senators would add important provisions from NELA to the NDAA, “and we support the amendment,” the groups said.

“NELA would accelerate the commercialization of a new generation of nuclear reactors that are designed to provide energy in multiple ways beyond traditional large-scale nuclear electricity production,” the groups pointed out.

These new nuclear energy products “are important components in a modern, clean, resilient energy system that can meet civilian and defense needs. With China and Russia now developing and exporting advanced reactors to strategically significant countries throughout the world, it is critical that the U.S. reassert leadership in this geopolitically important field,” APPA and the other stakeholders told Inhofe and Reed.

NELA, introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has twenty-two bipartisan co-sponsors, including Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The legislation would direct federal research and development related to advanced nuclear power, including advanced reactor demonstration, the development of a national nuclear strategic plan, and the creation of university nuclear leadership program.

NELA would also authorize long-term federal power purchase agreements increasing the current maximum from ten years to up to forty years, allowing upfront capital costs to be recouped over a longer period.

Last September, the legislation was reported out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a voice vote.

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