WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) applauded the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for issuing its proposed rule establishing emergency preparedness requirements for advanced nuclear technologies to account for smaller, safer nuclear reactor designs. Barrasso also congratulated the Tennessee Valley Authority for receiving NRC approval to site an advanced nuclear reactor. 

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s announcements will help develop and deploy innovative American nuclear technologies. The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) directs the commission to incorporate increased safety and performance of advanced nuclear designs in their safety rules. The law requires the agency to account for smaller and safer nuclear technologies. The proposed rule is an important step in implementing the law. 

“I commend the commission’s approval of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s permit to site a small modular reactor. Together, these decisions will promote innovation, protect the environment, and provide clean, reliable nuclear energy.” 

Barrasso is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) which has jurisdiction over the NRC and the civilian use of nuclear energy. 

Background Information

On November 21, 2019, Barrasso and Sen. Shelby Moore Capito (R-WV) sent a letter to the NRC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding emergency planning requirements. 

On November 13, 2019, EPW held a hearing on preserving and expanding clean, reliable nuclear power. 

On June 4, 2019, the EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held a hearing on protecting U.S. leadership in and expanding licensing opportunities for advanced nuclear technologies.

On January 14, 2019, President Trump signed S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), into law. NEIMA was introduced by Barrasso and a bipartisan group of cosponsors. NEIMA requires the NRC to develop a regulatory framework for America’s innovators, who seek to deploy advanced nuclear technologies.