EPW Committee Advances Risch, Crapo Nuclear Energy Bill
Comment of the Day

June 01 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

EPW Committee Advances Risch, Crapo Nuclear Energy Bill

Here are some of the key details of the nuclear bill passed today. 

Develop and Deploy New Nuclear Technologies

The bill reduces regulatory costs for companies seeking to license advanced nuclear reactor technologies.
The bill creates a prize to incentivize the successful deployment of next-generation nuclear reactor technologies.
The bill requires the NRC to develop a pathway to enable the timely licensing of nuclear facilities at brownfield sites.

Preserve Existing Nuclear Energy

The bill modernizes outdated rules that restrict international investment.
The bill extends a long-established, indemnification policy necessary to enable the continued operation of today’s reactors and give certainty for capital investments in building new reactors.

Strengthen America’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain Infrastructure

The bill directs the NRC to establish an initiative to enhance preparedness to qualify and license advanced nuclear fuels.
The bill identifies modern manufacturing techniques to build nuclear reactors better, faster, cheaper and smarter.

Authorize funds for Environmental Cleanup Programs

The bill authorizes funding to assist in cleaning up legacy abandoned mining sites on Tribal lands.

Improve Commission Efficiency

The bill provides flexibility for the NRC to budget and manage organizational support activities to ensure the NRC is prepared to address NRC staff issues associated with an aging workforce.
The bill provides the NRC Chair the tools to hire and retain highly-specialized staff and exceptionally well-qualified individuals to successfully and safely review and approve advanced nuclear reactor licenses.
The bill requires the NRC to periodically review and assess performance metrics and milestone schedules to ensure licensing can be completed on an efficient schedule.

Eoin Treacy's view

The cost of building new nuclear facilities is the most common counter argument for expanding the sector. Two of the biggest cost centres are the regulatory morass that needs to be traversed to get a new project permitted and the fact that many reactors are unique designs. Adjusting regulations to take technological innovations into account and building reactors on assembly lines could greatly reduce the cost of construction.
The Global X Uranium ETF is in the process of posting an upside weekly key reversal from the lower side of the two-year first step above the base.

Centrus Energy specializes in enriched fuels for modern reactors. The share dipped abruptly in early trading today but rebounded into the close. That suggests a low of at least near-term significance.

Cameco hit a new recovery high today as the demand outlook for uranium improves. 

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