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House Passes Bill Aimed at Streamlining, Speeding Up NRC Reviews of Nuclear Power Projects

The House on Feb. 28 passed bipartisan legislation that would require changes at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission designed to streamline and speed up the regulation of nuclear power, including the licensing and regulation of advanced nuclear reactors.

The bill, H.R. 6544, the Atomic Energy Advancement Act, is sponsored by Representatives Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, & Grid Security.

The bill passed the House 365-36. Duncan and DeGette indicated they plan to work with members of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, which passed similar NRC reform legislation last spring, S. 1111 the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy or the ADVANCE Act, to resolve differences between the two bills and develop a compromise package in the coming months.

The American Public Power Association supports efforts to reform the NRC to streamline the regulatory burden placed on both new and existing nuclear power plants while maintaining nuclear safety.

At its 2024 Legislative Rally in late February, APPA passed a resolution in support of nuclear power and an efficient and effective Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Atomic Energy Advancement Act would require the NRC to utilize, as much as possible, information included in previous licensing activities when licensing a new nuclear facility at a site with an existing nuclear facility, to include nuclear fusion reactors in its regulatory framework for advanced reactors, to reduce hourly fees for advanced reactor applicants, and to identify and report on policy changes needed to encourage the development of nuclear facilities at brownfield sites.

It also authorizes DOE to enter into power purchase agreements of up to 40 years for eligible nuclear reactors and to make awards to cover NRC fees assessed for first-of-a-kind advanced nuclear reactors. It also gives the NRC additional resources and flexibility to hire and retain specialized employees.

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