The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) and request for comments in the Federal Register proposing a comprehensive revision of the Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation (DEAR). DOE’s proposal strives to update and streamline the DEAR’s policies, procedures, provisions, and clauses. DOE invites the public to submit written comments regarding this NOPR through the Federal eRulemaking Portal by no later than December 26, 2023.
In a final rule published in the Federal Register on October 19, 2023, the NRC amended its regulations at 10 CFR 140.11 to increase the amount of third-party liability coverage required under the Price-Anderson Act, Section 170 of the Atomic Energy Act (42 USC 2210) (Price-Anderson) for large reactor licensees (i.e., reactors with a rated capacity of ≥100 MWe) from $450 million to $500 million per incident.
In a Federal Register Notice published September 5, 2023, the NRC amended its regulations to be effective October 5, 2023, to adjust for inflation the maximum total and annual deferred premium amounts for the “secondary layer” of offsite liability coverage, as required by the Price-Anderson Act, as amended, Section 170 of the Atomic Energy Act (42 USC 2210) (Price-Anderson).
The Nine Mile Point nuclear power station in Oswego, New York began producing hydrogen in March 2023 as part of a demonstration project sponsored by the US Department of Energy. Although Nine Mile Point produced hydrogen solely for internal use, the project validates that reliable and emission-free nuclear energy can be used to produce clean-burning hydrogen.

In this Law360 article, Ryan Lighty discusses the US Congress’s efforts to incentivize coal-to-nuclear transitions. With the recently passed Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, Congress authorized a new program to foster the deployment of next-generation nuclear facilities at depowered coal sites.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced on April 19 that it is now accepting sealed bids from reactor owners and operators to receive initial credits under the Civil Nuclear Credit Program (CNCP). Concurrent with this announcement, DOE issued guidance to assist applicants in preparing the sealed bids.

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has submitted its annual report on Transfers of Civil Nuclear Technology to Congress for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The report fulfills the agency’s obligation under Section 3136(e) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 to submit an annual report covering its review of applications under 10 CFR Part 810 to transfer US civil nuclear technology to foreign persons. Morgan Lewis tracks these annual reports; see link to our full analysis of the prior report (for FY 2019).

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking public comment on the need to continue or modify the portion of the Price-Anderson Act that it administers, as it prepares a report to Congress. The Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 2005 (codified at 42 USC 2210(p)) requires DOE to submit this report to Congress by the end of December of this year. The deadline to submit comments is August 25, 2021.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a site-specific review that has broader implications for Superfund site cleanups with radionuclide contamination. The EPA is reviewing a Trump-era decision on the applicability of water quality regulations for radionuclide-contaminated effluent from a Tennessee Superfund site. This review could result in reversing the prior determination that the Clean Water Act’s (CWA’s) technology-based effluent limits do not apply. If the EPA reverses this decision, it could signal that the EPA is looking to impose more stringent standards for the cleanup and discharge of radionuclide-contaminated water at other sites.
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.