Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a hearing titled “Hearing to Examine a Discussion Draft Bill, S.____, American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020.”
The hearing featured testimony from Amy Roma, founding member of Nuclear Energy and National Security Coalition at the Atlantic Council; W. Paul Goranson, president of Uranium Producers of America; and Armond Cohen, executive director of the Clean Air Task Force.
For more information on witness testimony click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Clean, reliable nuclear energy is a cornerstone of America’s energy infrastructure.
“Nuclear provides over half of our nation’s emission-free power.
“Today’s nuclear reactors can run up to two full years without needing to be refueled.
“America’s nuclear engineers and scientists also support our national security.
“Nuclear energy powers our Navy’s aircraft carriers and our submarines.
“Nuclear technology is fundamental to meeting our energy, environmental, economic, and national security goals.
“Since America’s first nuclear engineers worked on the Manhattan Project to win World War II, the United States has lead the world in developing new nuclear technologies.
“For the last 75 years, our nuclear energy industry has been the world’s leader in safety as well as performance.
“We must ensure our leadership endures.
“The draft bill we are discussing today, the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020, will do just that.
“The legislation will ensure we maintain the United States’ historical position as the global nuclear energy leader.
“Our foreign competitors, specifically China and Russia, seek to undermine America’s nuclear industry for their own advantage.
“President Trump’s recent Nuclear Fuel Working Group report unequivocally states that Russia weaponizes its energy supplies to advance their strategic goals.
“I agree with this assessment.
“Time and again, Vladimir Putin has used energy as a geopolitical weapon.
“It is well documented that Russia has withheld its vast natural gas supplies to bully energy dependent foreign neighbors to achieve their geopolitical aims.
“Even in the United States, Russia has been deliberately trying to dump uranium into our energy markets.
“This undercuts American uranium production and it drives our companies out of business.
“The administration’s report describes the dire situation facing our nation’s uranium producers.
“America is on the brink of finding ourselves completely reliant on foreign uranium to power our homes and our businesses.
“Wyoming is the leading uranium producer in the United States.
“Production is down significantly.
“The Energy Information Administration recently reported that last year’s American uranium production was at an all-time low.
“This is dangerous.
“We must reverse that trend.
“The draft legislation establishes a uranium reserve to revive and strengthen our uranium production.
“American-mined uranium would fill the reserve.
“The material would be available in the event of a supply disruption.
“This strengthens our energy security and preserves critical uranium mining jobs around the country.
“If we lose our ability to mine uranium, it would take a generation to rebuild it.
“Establishing a uranium reserve preserves good jobs and protects our national security.
“It is a win-win situation.
“I applaud the Trump administration for their efforts to protect our uranium industry.
“I support the Department of Commerce’s actions to extend an agreement to limit how much Russian uranium can enter the United States.
“If those efforts succeed, Congress will establish those Russian importation caps into law.
“If they fail, I will lead efforts to set the needed caps in law.
“The draft legislation takes other important steps to maintain America’s leadership on nuclear energy.
“The bill directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to coordinate with foreign nuclear regulators to enable the safe use of innovative nuclear designs.
“The draft builds on the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, which was authored by members of this committee, to expand nuclear energy through advanced nuclear technologies.
“The draft legislation also modernizes environmental permitting requirements to address the needs of new technologies.
“The bill identifies regulatory barriers that limit the safe deployment of new nuclear technologies.
“These new technologies are capable of radically reducing carbon emissions.
“It’s time to remove regulatory roadblocks for the next generation of nuclear reactors.
“The discussion draft would preserve America’s existing nuclear power plants by authorizing temporary, targeted financial credits to reactors at risk of closing.
“It will help develop advanced fuels needed to power cutting-edge reactors.
“The draft will also help reduces construction costs to build advanced nuclear reactors.
“Finally, it reauthorizes critical training programs to bolster our nuclear workforce.
“The American Nuclear Infrastructure Act is a blueprint to revitalize our nuclear energy industry.
“I would like to thank Senators Whitehouse, Booker, Crapo and Carper for working with me on this draft.
“The policies in this draft legislation will keep the United States on track to remain the undisputed international nuclear energy leader for the next 25 years.”