The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development has approved a $38.4 billion measure to fund the U.S. Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and related agencies. The bill includes increased funding for nuclear research and development and funding for consolidated storage of used fuel.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the subcommittee, said the legislation included a pilot program for consolidated waste storage and that NRC-licensed private storage facilities would be working side-by-side with used fuel repositories.
“The new sites we are seeking to establish would not take the place of Yucca Mountain … but we would complement it,” Alexander said.
While many of the bill’s provisions were met with support from industry stakeholders, one provision, the elimination of additional funding for the loan guarantee program for new nuclear energy facilities—a move which NEI said could negatively impact the long-term viability of the nuclear industry.
Key programs in the bill include:
- Legislation provides funds for consolidated storage of used fuel
- Bill terminates loan guarantee program for new nuclear facilities
- Funding for energy programs within DOE at $11.1 billion, $189 million below the fiscal 2017 enacted level and $3.6 billion above the president’s request.
- $917 million for Nuclear Energy Research and Development, a $214 million increase above the president’s request. This includes $90 million for advanced reactors, $28 million more than the president’s budget and $40 million for research on existing light water reactors, $20 million more than the president’s request.
- $5.55 billion for the DOE Office of Science, $158 million above the 2017 enacted level, to support basic science and energy research, development of high-performance computing systems, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources.