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.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Staff has sought the Commission’s approval to initiate a rulemaking to update the agency’s environmental protection regulations for licensing activities.
Read a LawFlash published by our colleagues in the tax practice, explaining the implications of the new Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021—which includes the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020—on various industries, including the “green” energy and technology industries.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, signed into law on December 27, includes the Energy Act of 2020 (Energy Act) and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Taxpayer Act), which contains tax provisions important to the energy sector.
An order issued from the US Department of Energy on December 17 prohibits the installation of Chinese equipment or components in facilities providing power to designated “Critical Defense Facilities.” The order discusses threats to the electric supply chain from China.
Under the substantial weight of industry, state, and public pressure, the NRC today published a notice in the Federal Register (85 FR 81960) announcing its withdrawal of its proposed highly controversial reinterpretation of its low-level radioactive waste disposal regulations. The NRC concluded, after consideration of comments, that the proposed changes would not benefit the overall LLW regulatory framework.
Is it science fiction to consider living on the moon or traveling to Mars in only a few months? Maybe not. The US government is promoting technologies to place nuclear reactors in space to power human existence on the moon and to propel spacecraft to Mars.
Congratulations to our colleagues in the project finance, infrastructure, and natural resources practice for being named a Law360 Project Finance Group of the Year. The Law360 article profiling the team’s accomplishments highlights the diversity and depth of the practice, as well as the fact that Morgan Lewis lawyers tend to “stickwith a project for its entire lifespan.” The article also notes that successful deals often rely on the strength of other Morgan Lewis practices such as regulatory, environmental, real estate, tax, and antitrust.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently issued a change notice to summarize revisions to its Enforcement Manual, which was finalized on December 1, 2020. The Enforcement Manual provides the guidelines for how NRC Staff should implement the NRC’s Enforcement Policy.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to send S. 4897, the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020, to the Senate floor on December 2. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) sponsored the bill, with Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) as bipartisan cosponsors.