President Joe Biden has elevated Democratic Commissioner Christopher T. Hanson to serve as Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Mr. Hanson succeeds former Republican Chairman Christine Svinicki—the longest-serving Commissioner in the history of the agency—who stepped-down on January 20, 2021. Although timing is uncertain, President Biden also is expected to nominate a fifth Commissioner to fill the former Chair’s vacant seat. If that pick shares Chairman Hanson’s views, the agency’s longstanding threshold for intervenor challenges to license applications could be overturned.
KEY TRENDS IN LAW AND POLICY REGARDING
NUCLEAR ENERGY AND MATERIALS
NUCLEAR ENERGY AND MATERIALS
In a recent lawflash, our colleagues in the litigation and environmental practice analyze the implications of the recent DC Circuit ruling in favor of the EPA’s national priorities listing (NPL) decisions.
To address national security interests and prevent the unauthorized transfer of scientific and technical information to certain foreign entities, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued Order No. 486.1 on June 7.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued three rules on June 19, granting additional powers to states to determine their projected energy resource mixes, including nuclear energy.
Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) (H. 3306) into the House of Representatives on June 18. According to a press release from the congresswoman’s website, NELA will help to “create high-quality jobs, strengthen national security, reduce foreign energy dependence, and promote emissions-free energy.”
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved applications submitted by PSEG Nuclear LLC seeking subsidies of up to $300 million annually, in the form of zero emission credits (ZECs), for PSEG’s Hope Creek and Salem 1 and 2 nuclear generating stations on April 18.
President Donald Trump on January 14 signed into law the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), Pub. L. 115-86, after it was passed by Congress in late December 2018. NEIMA covers a wide variety of issues, but two main topics should be particularly welcomed by the nuclear industry
A partial government shutdown currently looms on the horizon. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), however, has a budget funded through FY 2019, so it would not be impacted if the government shuts down.
A bipartisan group of nine US senators introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), S. 3422, on September 6. According to a press release announcing the bill’s introduction, NELA will “boost nuclear energy innovation and ensure advanced reactors can provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable power to meet national and global energy needs.”
The US House of Representatives and Senate recently passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) as part of the reconciled conference report for the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).