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Crapo Sponsors Legislation to Promote Nuclear Competitiveness, Energy Security

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) joined Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) to introduce the bipartisan Accelerating Deployment of Versatile Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act 2023.  The ADVANCE Act improves the nation’s nuclear infrastructure, secures America’s uranium supply chain, grows the economy, creates jobs, reduces carbon emissions and strengthens national security.

“Providing energy security at home and abroad should be a broadly bipartisan priority, and the best way to do so is to continue our investment in nuclear energy” said Crapo.  “The ADVANCE Act ensures nuclear energy becomes a larger part of our nation’s diverse energy portfolio.  With the world-leading Idaho National Laboratory in our backyard, Idaho is responsible for facilitating and promoting international nuclear competitiveness through research, innovation and workforce development.”

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  • The bill modernizes outdated rules that restrict international investment.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.

Additional co-sponsors of the ADVANCE Act include Senators Tom Carper (D-Delaware), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) and Mark Kelly (D-Arizona).

On April 23, 2020, the Department of Energy released its report titled, “Restoring America’s Competitive Nuclear Energy Advantage.”  The report found the decline of our industrial nuclear supply capabilities threatens our national interest and national security.  The report recommends actions that will set the United States back on the right track.  The ADVANCE Act implements the report’s key recommendations. 

The ADVANCE Act builds on previous Crapo legislation that furthered nuclear innovation: S. 97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA); and S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Modernization Act (NEIMA).  These laws help ensure the research conducted at the Idaho National Laboratory continues to contribute to our diverse domestic energy resources and keeps our nation at the forefront of nuclear innovation.