Kinzinger’s measure to reform Nuclear Regulatory Commission advances to Senate

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s (R-IL) bipartisan proposal to revise the functions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received unanimous approval from the full U.S. House on Sept. 25 and now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy (NUKE) Act, H.R. 1320, passed by voice vote. Rep. Kinzinger introduced the bill on March 2, 2017 with lead cosponsor U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) to establish new transparency and accountability measures on the NRC’s budget and fee structure and to develop a regulatory framework that would enable the licensing of advanced nuclear reactors, according to the congressional record summary.

“This is a crucial moment for nuclear power. Here at home, plants are facing economic pressures and early retirements, and around the world, nations like Russia and China are trying to increase their exports of nuclear technology and know-how,” said Rep. Kinzinger after passage of H.R. 1320, which he said “will provide stability to our nuclear plants by making common sense reforms at the NRC.”

The congressman noted that his home state of Illinois is a national leader in producing clean, reliable electricity through nuclear power, a situation that his “constituents are passionate about.”

“It’s what inspired this legislation, to make the regulatory process more efficient and transparent,” Rep. Kinzinger said. “These plants power our homes and businesses, all while creating good jobs and strong communities. My district is home to four nuclear power plants: Byron, Braidwood, Dresden, and LaSalle, and I’m honored to represent the thousands of dedicated men and women who work there.”

H.R. 1320, among several provisions, would amend the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 to remove amounts appropriated for the Advanced Reactor Program from NRC’s fee recovery requirement, according to the congressional record summary. The NRC would be required to ensure that the collection of fees equaled its budget authority and the commission would be permitted to collect specific fees.

If enacted, H.R. 1320 also would cap the amount of the annual fee that may be charged to an operating reactor, which NRC could waive if the cap compromises its safety and security mission, according to the summary.

“Without compromising the NRC’s high safety standards, this legislation will ensure increased transparency, predictability and accountability when it comes to the fees and charges that plants pay to be regulated by the NRC,” Kinzinger said.