WASHINGTON—The following is a statement from the Nuclear Energy Institute's senior vice president of governmental affairs, John Kane, in response to the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of H.R. 4, "The Securing of America's Future Energy Act of 2001." The legislation, approved by a vote of 240-189, contains nuclear-specific provisions that are designed to support nuclear energy plant construction, support university nuclear science and engineering programs, and fund nuclear energy research and development efforts.
"The House of Representatives has taken a major step toward securing America's energy future by passing this comprehensive bill that acknowledges the important role nuclear energy plays in the country's energy mix today, and needs to play in the future.
"The industry applauds the bipartisan efforts of Congressmen Tauzin, Barton, Dingell, Boucher and the 230 other members who supported the legislation through the committee levels and on the House floor. The fact that the bill passed by a comfortable majority is an indication of broad support by the public to meet our energy challenges with forceful action.
"We are disappointed that the provision to take the Nuclear Waste Fund out from under artificial budget caps was removed. Electricity ratepayers have contributed $17 billion into this program and have done so with the expectation that this revenue would be applied specifically toward the program. This is the fair and the right thing to do.
"We also are pleased that this major legislation recognizes the importance of human resources and nuclear energy research and development. The more than $30 million funding of university programs will make it possible for the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers to capitalize on the value of their education and training to further advance the outstanding record of performance and safety of the nation's nuclear industry.
"The industry also welcomes the policy initiative that instructs the Department of Energy to study the feasibility of building commercial nuclear power plants at existing Energy
Department sites. New nuclear energy plants will be cost-competitive, will provide reliable power, and will do all this without any air emissions.
"At a time when the nuclear power plants across the country are achieving record levels of safety, reliability, efficiency and output, it is prudent policy to take steps that can yield even greater reliance on nuclear energy as part of our long-term energy strategy."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org .