– Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing to examine the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2021—which Ranking Member Capito reintroduced in July 2021—and the STRANDED Act of 2021.

Last week, Ranking Member Capito joined Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) in writing a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to initiate an assessment of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)’s preparedness to review and approve advanced nuclear reactor applications.

Yesterday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed legislation into law that would lift state restrictions on nuclear power plant construction. More details can be found here.


NUCLEAR’S FUTURE IN WEST VIRGINIA: “My first question will focus on using former coal-fired power plants. Obviously this is an important question for me. One of the reasons West Virginia changed their law was to remove the barriers to nuclear energy but also couple those two initiatives together. I believe in Wyoming this is already moving forward. Ms. Korsnick, what can we do—either Congress or at the NRC—to facilitate the creation of nuclear jobs in former coal communities?”

ADDRESSING COSTLY NUCLEAR LICENSING FEES: “Mr. Harrell, you mentioned an application that cost half a billion dollars and I can’t remember how long it took. Obviously this has got to be a sticking point of the initial application but also the innovation that’s going to be required. What kind of ideas would you have in terms of being able to afford to actually move in this direction?” 

THE FUTURE OF HYDROGEN AND NUCLEAR ENERGY: “I would like to ask both of you if you have anything to add on the innovators that are developing designs to generate high-temperature heat to be used for manufacturing and industrial purposes. We’re requiring the NRC to identify and address potential regulatory barriers to deploying this for other technologies. Where is the nexus here between creating a hydrogen economy and having nuclear power at the same time?”

OPPORTUNITIES TO APPLY COVID “LESSONS LEARNED”: “During COVID, there were lessons learned all around the horn, but certainly some lessons learned [at] the NRC and how they did some inspections by greater remote access to plant data. I’m wonder if you have any examples of how these plants have improved their operations because of lessons learned during the COVID pandemic?”


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