WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and committee ranking member Tom Carper (D-DE), along with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), chair and ranking member of the EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, released the following statements on the Senate’s passage of S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA).

The bipartisan legislation passed the Senate by voice vote. It will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

"The Senate has taken important action to support America’s nuclear energy sector,” said Barrasso. “Our bipartisan legislation will help create jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and maintain America’s leadership in nuclear innovation. It will give consumers and licensees greater transparency and accountability over how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission spends their money. The bill directs the agency to establish a licensing process for advanced nuclear reactors and other technologies.”

“Nuclear power serves as our nation’s largest source of reliable, carbon-free energy, which can help combat the negative impacts of climate change and at the same time, foster economic opportunities for Americans,” said Carper. “If we are smart, we will replace our aging nuclear reactors with new technology developed in this country that is safer, produces less spent fuel and is cheaper to build and operate. I want to thank Senator Barrasso for working with me on this important bipartisan legislation that supports advanced nuclear reactors and ensures the United States remains on the cutting edge. This is another important step in our fight against climate change, and I look forward to the President signing this bill into law.”

“The United States must remain a leader in technological innovation and as chair of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety subcommittee, I’m pleased the Senate recognizes the importance of growing our nuclear industry to meet the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century,” Capito said. “I hope the House will also pass this bipartisan legislation so we can maintain the availability of diverse, reliable, and affordable sources of electricity for the American people.”

“A new generation of nuclear technology could help tackle the serious climate threats we face, and may even help address the challenge of nuclear waste.  That’s why it’s important to update the federal government’s outdated approval process for new nuclear technologies,” said Whitehouse. “I am proud to have worked with this bipartisan group on this bill, which will give our nuclear regulator the flexibility it needs to bring new, safe reactors online to produce carbon-free energy.”

NEIMA will provide the public greater clarity into the process by which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) develops its budget and recovers its costs through fees. The bill requires the NRC to establish metrics and milestones for licensing and other regulatory actions.

NIEMA requires the commission to develop a regulatory framework for America’s innovators, who seek to deploy advanced nuclear technologies.

Finally, the bill directs the NRC to establish a pilot project to provide uranium producers predictable fees for routine licensing matters.

NEIMA was introduced by Barrasso and is cosponsored by Carper, Capito, and Whitehouse. It is also cosponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Gary Peters (D-MI), John Kennedy (R-LA), and James Risch (R-ID).

On March 22, 2017, the EPW committee passed NEIMA. The legislation has received broad support from stakeholders.

For more information on NEIMA, click here.