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.
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.
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.
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.
The suspense is over. The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced yesterday that it had awarded $80 million each to TerraPower and X-energy under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) for them to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years.