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« States Are Breathing New Air Into Nuclear Energy To Preserve Jobs And Environment | Main | Why Oil-Rich Saudi Arabia Is Turning to Nuclear Power »

Nuclear Energy Institute applauds spending bill

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) recently commended the passage of the $1.3 trillion federal omnibus spending bill, which includes approximately $1.2 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) nuclear energy programs and $922 million for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

“We commend and thank congressional appropriators for their recognition that investment in nuclear energy technologies will deliver enormous benefits to our energy system, our environment, our workers and our national security,” NEI Vice President of Policy Development and Public Affairs John Kotek said.

The DOE budget includes an approximately 20 percent increase for nuclear energy programs over last year’s budget and includes $47 million for subsequent license renewal and $85 million for accident tolerant fuels.

It also includes $237 million, an increase of $105 million from fiscal year 2017, to support the deployment of the next generation of advanced reactors, including $60 million for solicitation to support engineering and design and regulatory development of light water and non-light water reactor technologies, including small modular reactors.

The bill restores funding to DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and the Title XVII Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, which supports the construction of new reactors.

It does not include funding to advance the Yucca Mountain licensing or interim used fuel storage programs but does include funds for the cleanup of DOE legacy sites.

The NRC received $30 million less than the president’s request for fiscal year 2018. Congress reduced by $16 million the portion of the agency’s revenues that it recovers from industry fees, partly by removing budget items from its fee basis.

“Even with these reduced charges to licensees, the budget still includes sufficient funding to continue the NRC’s strong oversight of today’s reactors while allowing the agency to make important advancements in the licensing of next-generation technologies and transform its culture,” Kotek said.

Budget hearings on the president’s NRC and DOE spending requests for fiscal year 2019 are now underway.

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