Sending Office: Honorable Bill Johnson
CO-SPONSOR H.R.6531, THE ADVANCING U.S. CIVIL NUCLEAR COMPETITIVENESS AND JOBS ACT
The Department of Energy (DOE) plays a critical role in America’s civil nuclear industry’s engagement in international commerce through the Part 810 permitting process. With almost 200 gigawatts of new nuclear energy capacity projected to be added throughout
the world by 2050, it is incumbent on Congress to ensure the Part 810 process is both efficient, and that it continues to maintain our strong nuclear nonproliferation posture. H.R. 6531, The Advancing U.S. Civil Nuclear Competitiveness and Jobs Act will create
a more robust Part 810 process, so that our domestic suppliers can effectively compete within the international market, thereby bringing about positive geopolitical and economic benefits for the U.S.
When Congress amended the Atomic Energy Act in 1954 to provide for the commercial use of nuclear technology, the United States was one of a few countries who had nuclear energy capacity. Today, the United States is no longer the only game in town. Our domestic
nuclear suppliers face very stiff global competition, mainly from nuclear vendors with state-backing who use nuclear energy projects to implement national policy objectives, and as a job creator back home. These state-backed entities will offer nuclear project
debt with better terms than market rates, and even use these projects as part of a larger deal – and not simply a standalone commercial deal. In fact, over 50% of new nuclear builds today are currently going to China and Russia. Those countries see getting
a toehold in nuclear energy as a strategic tool to leverage themselves into a 100-year State-to-State relationship.
Importantly, DOE has recognized the need for a timely review process for these Part 810 authorizations, and has made progress over the last several years to improve the efficiency and transparency of that process. This has been under both Democratic and
Republican administrations. In fact, in February 2015 DOE published efficiency revisions to the Part 810 regulation, the first such revisions since 1986. This legislation builds upon that work through sensible statutory reforms, many of which DOE is unable
to accomplish through further rulemakings.
Specifically, H.R. 6531 directs the Secretary of Energy to establish procedures for predictable and timely consideration of exports of certain low-risk technologies; permits the Secretary to delegate the approval of certain low-risk authorizations to reduce
paperwork for the Secretary; and, requires the Department of Energy to process authorizations concurrently during the inter-agency review.
Creating a safe and efficient regulatory environment that allows our domestic suppliers to effectively compete with foreign suppliers is critical to ensuring the U.S. maintains a leading role in civilian nuclear technology. Nuclear reactors last a very long
time, and U.S. engagement with those reactors around the world can help ensure many years of economic cooperation and peace. H.R. 6531, The Advancing U.C. Civil Nuclear Competitiveness and Jobs Act helps ensure our suppliers can continue to effectively compete
and engage with our allies around the world.
Member of Congress
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