Skip to main content

The 2014 Election's Impact on Nuclear Energy

Alex Flint
The following post was submitted by Alex Flint, NEI's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.

Elections have consequences. There will now be closer alignment on legislative priorities between the House and Senate, and the result will be more legislation being sent to the President for his signature. Whether he will enact or veto that legislation is an open question and will depend on whether the Congress decides to pursue a limited, consensus agenda with the President or decides to use the legislative process to highlight differences between the parties.

We expect energy legislation will be considered in the next two years, and it will include nuclear energy and used nuclear fuel management provisions. Certainly in the case of used fuel management, there are a lot of new members whose positions will need to be determined, and stumbling blocks that have hindered enactment of legislation still remain. However, serious consideration of legislation will resume, and NEI will strongly support that effort.

The tone of congressional oversight will also change, with new chairmen in the Senate giving direction more in-line with the direction we’ve seen from the House in recent years. In recent years, Chairman Barbara Boxer has engaged in strong oversight from the committee on Environment and Public Works, but it has tended to focus on the two nuclear plants in California. Under Republican leadership, we expect the committee to take a broader view and focus on the conduct of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the impact of its regulatory programs, especially as it continues its post-Fukushima regulatory work.

Comments

Will Davis said…
Excellent piece, and a good look at what the dawn of a new era could look like. Thanks for the perspective and the demonstration that NEI is ready to help move forward from here.
Rod Adams said…
I have chosen different words to describe Senator Boxer's behavior during her numerous "oversight" hearings of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

http://atomicinsights.com/?s=%22Barbara+Boxer%22

My hope is that the next majority leader for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has a better understanding of the role of the elected Senate in providing oversight of the independent, technically competent regulatory agency that has been assigned the important mission to "licenses and regulates the Nation's civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment."
Tom Clements said…
Interesting that the extra-legal term "used nuclear fuel" is being used. DOE appears to be shifting back to the legally defined term -in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act - "spent nuclear fuel." I assume that "used nuclear fuel" is a code term to show bias to reprocessing, something that is not on the table at all.
@Tom
"used nuclear fuel" : I'll be saying that in future. I hear that South Korea has a pyroprocessing plant now. Dr. Roger Blomquist of ANL said that pyroprocessing would be a seventh the price of PUREX. I guess reusing nuclear fuel will be on the table again soon.
@Tom
"used nuclear fuel" : I'll be saying that in future. I hear that South Korea has a pyroprocessing plant now. Dr. Roger Blomquist of ANL said that pyroprocessing would be a seventh the price of PUREX. I guess reusing nuclear fuel will be on the table again soon.
Given the amount of "used nuclear fuel" available that could be re-process and reused, the fact that we still think burial is the answer goes against EVERYTHING any true Environmentalist would consider. We are sure to recycle a can or a newspaper, but not an expensive, finite resource. We need scientists not politicians to lead on Environmental/ scientific issues. Boxer & Pelosi make me embarrased to be female.
Anonymous said…
LOL, love how it spins off just because of one term, spent or used, then try to spin it into a whole different arena. You sure it's not "undocumented" fuel?
Tim Martin said…
Good summary of what to expect. Please keep us up to date as the cards are turned over in the Senate.

Popular posts from this blog

New Home for Our Blog: Join Us on NEI.org

On February 27, NEI launched the new NEI.org. We overhauled the public site, framing all of our content around the National Nuclear Energy Strategy.

So, what's changed?

Our top priority was to put you, the user, first. Now you can quickly get the information you need. You'll enjoy visiting the site with its intuitive navigation, social media integration and compelling and shareable visuals. We've added a feature called Nuclear Now, which showcases the latest industry news and resources like fact sheets and reports. It's one of the first sections you'll see on our home page and it can be accessed anywhere throughout the site by clicking on the atom symbol in the top right corner of the page.
Most importantly for you, our loyal NEI Nuclear Notes readers, is that we've migrated the blog to the new site. Moving forward, all blog posts will be published in the News section, along with our press releases, Nuclear Energy Overview stories and more. Just look for the &qu…

Hurricane Harvey Couldn't Stop the South Texas Project

As Hurricane Harvey battered southeast Texas over the past week, the devastation and loss of life in its wake have kept our attention and been a cause of grief.

Through the tragedy, many stories of heroics and sacrifice have emerged. Among those who have sacrificed are nearly 250 workers who have been hunkered down at the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear plant in Matagorda County, Texas.

STP’s priorities were always the safety of their employees and the communities they serve. We are proud that STP continued to operate at full power throughout the storm. It is a true testament to the reliability and resiliency of not only the operators but of our industry.

The world is starting to notice what a feat it is to have maintained operations through the catastrophic event. Forbes’ Rod Adams did an excellent job describing the contribution of these men and women:

“STP storm crew members deserve to be proud of the work that they are doing. Their families should take comfort in the fact that…

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…