Wednesday, November 05, 2014

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.

8 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.

William Ashbless said...

@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.

William Ashbless said...

@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.

Deborah Cooper-Hammond said...

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.