WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. House of Representatives approved a fiscal 2012 appropriations bill today for energy and water development programs. The $30.6 billion appropriations measure (H.R. 2354) provides $733 million for nuclear energy programs (a one percent increase from the current fiscal year), including $439 million for nuclear energy research and development activities. These activities include $67 million for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support program, $63.6 million for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant program and $25 million for the Light Water Reactor Sustainability program. The bill also appropriates $35 million for the Yucca Mountain used nuclear fuel repository. Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, made these comments about the nuclear energy-related provisions in the energy and water development appropriations measure:
“The support for nuclear energy reflected in the fiscal 2012 energy and water development appropriations bill is very encouraging to the industry and important for America’s future energy security. The House’s bipartisan recognition of the solid safety record at U.S. nuclear energy facilities and of the vital role that nuclear energy must continue to play in a diversified electricity portfolio is gratifying.
“The nuclear energy industry thanks subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and ranking member Peter Visclosky in particular for guiding H.R. 2354 to the House floor with provisions that make an important and appropriate investment in nuclear energy programs.
“The $67 million appropriation to implement a cost-shared public/private partnership in small reactor technology is a particularly important investment in an exciting new form of low-carbon electricity generation. Development of small, scalable reactors can maintain U.S. leadership in the global nuclear marketplace and create jobs at the same time that they offer a new way to help achieve our nation’s energy security and environmental objectives.
“The increased funding provided for the Light Water Reactor Sustainability program, as well as the continued support provided for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant program, demonstrate a clear recognition on the part of House members that our nation must continue to innovate with regard to materials and technologies that can help make U.S. nuclear energy facilities even safer and more reliable than they already are today.
“These and other investments in our nation’s clean-energy future are imperative if we hope to meet rising electricity demand with reliable, low-carbon sources that can drive economic growth and help make us less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
“The industry welcomes the restoration of funding for the Yucca Mountain repository program and thanks, in particular, Reps. John Shimkus and Jay Inslee for successfully leading the effort to add $10 million in funding for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing review of the proposed repository project. The industry believes it is important to continue DOE’s licensing process for the Yucca Mountain program as part of an integrated nuclear fuel management strategy that includes development of a limited number of consolidated storage facilities and research and development of advanced recycling technologies.
“The industry looks forward to continuing to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to advance nuclear energy programs that serve the national interest.”