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Crapo, Risch Applaud Inclusion of Nuclear Energy Amendment in Defense Bill

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (both R-Idaho) voted in support of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included an amendment that would help position the United States as the undisputed international leader for nuclear energy technologies.

The Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act of 2023, which Crapo and Risch sponsored, and the EPW Committee approved by a vote of 16-3, passed as part of the FY2024 NDAA by a vote of 86-11.

“The ADVANCE Act shows bipartisan support for continuing our investment in nuclear energy,” said Crapo.  “Including the ADVANCE Act in the FY2024 NDAA strengthens national security, diversifies our energy portfolio and grows the economy.”

“Energy security is national security, and developing and deploying new nuclear technology is critical to our national defense,” said Risch.  “The ADVANCE Act will strengthen our existing nuclear fleet and bring more clean, reliable, baseload energy online, and I am pleased to see it included in the NDAA.”

The ADVANCE Act will:

Facilitate American Nuclear Leadership

  • The bill empowers the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to lead in international forums to develop regulations for advanced nuclear reactors.
  • The bill establishes a joint Commerce Department and Energy Department initiative to facilitate outreach to nations that are seeking to develop advanced nuclear energy programs.

Develop and Deploy New Nuclear Technologies

  • The bill reduces regulatory costs for companies seeking to license advanced nuclear reactor technologies.
  • The bill creates a prize to incentivize the successful deployment of next-generation nuclear reactor technologies.
  • The bill requires the NRC to develop a pathway to enable the timely licensing of nuclear facilities at brownfield sites.

Preserve Existing Nuclear Energy

  • The bill modernizes outdated rules that restrict international investment.
  • The bill extends a long-established, indemnification policy necessary to enable the continued operation of today’s reactors and give certainty for capital investments in building new reactors.

Strengthen America’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain Infrastructure

  • The bill directs the NRC to establish an initiative to enhance preparedness to qualify and license advanced nuclear fuels.
  • The bill identifies modern manufacturing techniques to build nuclear reactors better, faster, cheaper and smarter.

Authorize funds for Environmental Cleanup Programs

  • The bill authorizes funding to assist in cleaning up legacy abandoned mining sites on Tribal lands.

Improve Commission Efficiency

  • The bill provides flexibility for the NRC to budget and manage organizational support activities to ensure the NRC is prepared to address NRC staff issues associated with an aging workforce.
  • The bill provides the NRC Chair the tools to hire and retain highly-specialized staff and exceptionally well-qualified individuals to successfully and safely review and approve advanced nuclear reactor licenses.
  • The bill requires the NRC to periodically review and assess performance metrics and milestone schedules to ensure licensing can be completed on an efficient schedule.