New Nuclear

Legal and Policy Advancements for Advanced Reactors

On February 24, 2022, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued three unusual decisions pertaining to the agency’s review of subsequent license renewal (SLR) applications.  The Commission orders reversed a previous Commission decision—CLI-20-03—pertaining to environmental reviews conducted by the NRC under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for SLRs.
In two of the orders

On February 11, 2022, Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office Nuclear Energy announced the launch of the $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program aimed at preserving the existing U.S. fleet of nuclear power reactors and the low carbon power they produce.  The CNC Program was established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Act

In early 2022, blog author Amy Roma spoke with a Bloomberg Law reporter about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Part 53 rulemaking efforts to support advanced reactor licensing.  Amy’s position is that the NRC rulemaking process is both unique and complex, as it must be both “technology neutral” and “risk informed” across the wide range

Those involved with advanced reactors are well aware of the issues associated with high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel: advanced reactors need HALEU to operate, but the U.S. doesn’t have domestic production capabilities to make it.  And there’s a “chicken” and “egg” issue to solving this problem—fuel cycle facilities don’t want to commit the resources towards

On December 16, 2021, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)—the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, respectively—introduced a bill entitled “Fission for the Future” (the “Bill”). The Bill aims to prioritize commercial deployment of advanced nuclear reactors, with an emphasis on siting reactors in communities

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recently released a report entitled “Life Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Options” (UNECE Report; Report).  The Report analyzes the environmental profiles of the full lifecycle of various technologies in order to evaluate their “all in” environmental costs—such as greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), human toxicity, water use,

On December 7, 2021, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) introduced legislation to change the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (“NRC”) fee structure for licensing advanced technology.  The legislation, called the “Accelerating Nuclear Innovation through Fee Reform Act,” H.R. 6154, would amend Section 102(b) of the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (42

On Friday, November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the President’s roughly $2 trillion budget reconciliation package, voting 220 to 213 in favor of H.R. 5376 the Build Back Better Act (“Reconciliation Bill”), kicking the bill over to the Senate. While the bill is not final, it demonstrates a clear commitment for clean

On Monday, November 15, 2021, the President signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“Infrastructure Bill” or the “Bill”), which contains a number of provisions supporting nuclear energy.
On November 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan US$1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill in a 228-206 vote, demonstrating one of United States’ largest

To demonstrate its clean energy commitments ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, the United Kingdom (UK) recently published its national strategy on fusion energy (Fusion Strategy) alongside a paper on the proposed regulatory framework (Fusion Green Paper), making the UK the frontrunner in fusion energy legislation.  As indicated in the

On October 21, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight & Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing titled “Judicious Spending to Enable Success at the Office of Nuclear Energy.”  A recording of the hearing is available here. Key witnesses at the hearing included Dr. Katy Huff, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Nuclear Energy at the

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The U.S. has made significant commitments to decarbonize its electricity sector by 2035 and its economy by 2050.  As the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report highlights, following through on these commitments cannot come soon enough to combat the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change.  One theme this blog continually emphasizes