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house Bill H.R. 1760

Should the Energy Dept. Create a Public-Private Partnership to Deploy Advanced Fuel for Nuclear Reactors?

Argument in favor

Nuclear energy is a potential source of safe, clean, long-lived, massive amounts of power with no direct carbon emissions. However, the next generation of nuclear reactors will need high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU), which currently isn’t available in the U.S. This legislation would change that.

John's Opinion
···
09/09/2019
The next generation of nuclear reactors will need high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU), which currently isn’t available in the U.S. This legislation would change that. We need much smaller reactors, that are safer, cleaner, with newer technologies that will provide much more energy for the U.S. than we generate with our old reactors today! Please vote yes for the Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act to develop and deploy high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU) for domestic commercial use. HA-LEU is used to fuel advanced nuclear reactors which are are designed to be more efficient and safer than existing nuclear reactors.
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···
09/11/2019
A public-private program, that furthers American Energy Dominance, and doesn’t pollute the air. What’s not to like?
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Francisco's Opinion
···
09/09/2019
Nuclear energy is a slippery slope towards danger unless our efforts go to neutralize the nuclear waste it produces! Once that hurdle is overcome then nuclear energy is a great substitute for petroleum and natural gas!! Our emphasis as a nation should be on converting our energy needs to renewables while spending a significant amount for research and development in nuclear energy!!
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Argument opposed

Nuclear power in the U.S. is broadly unpopular and doesn’t have the support it needs to become commonplace. Given the proliferation of cheap natural gas and renewable energy, nuclear power is less appealing than it was once, especially after high-profile meltdowns such as Three Mile Island and Fukushima.

jimK's Opinion
···
09/09/2019
No, I do not support a public-private partnership to gain access to nuclear fuels. I object to the "private" part in legislation proffered by a Republican, particularly from Texas. Somebody with "Cash-Register" eyeballs is sitting in the shadows looking forward to taxpayer subsidized profiteering. Further, public sensitivity to nuclear anything requires strict governmental standards and controls. When potentially hazardous nuclear materials are needed, they should be acquired and distributed by the federal government. Nuclear power will be required to get to the reduced carbon footprint necessary to forestall uncontrollable climate change, at least initially. Natural gas combustion, while cleaner than fossil fuels, still emits CO2, and has the potential of leaking Methane as well- which is 25 times more potent that CO2. Natural gas will have to be phased out as a combusted energy source, Locally renewable and locally stored energy resources will need augmentation from distant grid supplied power. Currently, optimally placed solar and wind power farms are subject to becoming useless should there be major shifts in air currents or persistent cloud cover. For example, if a cat 6 Hurricane blew down all the solar panels and wind turbines within a region in a carbon neutral future, how would the storm water surge pumps be powered? Where would the all-electric rescue vehicles go to plug-in? The smaller scale, alternatively fueled. much less complex and much more safe nuclear reactors currently being developed/deployed would be necessary. I prefer that our government be fully in control of the development and distribution of fuel for these reactors; which will be needed until efficient large scale energy storage and efficient grid power transfer methods are developed. After that, these kind of reactors can always augment power supplies as needed. All the climate stuff is too complex a task with potentially large risks. We need to keep all available options on the table until they are clearly no longer needed.
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IllWill's Opinion
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09/09/2019
Absolutely not! There should be no public-private partnerships for something as sensitive as fuel for nuclear reactors. This should remain entirely within the government’s responsibility.
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Patty's Opinion
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09/09/2019
Nuclear waste is a problem I don’t want to pass down to my children
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
    IntroducedMarch 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1760?

This bill — the Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act — would direct the Office of Nuclear Energy in the Dept. of Energy (DOE) to create a public-private partnership to develop and deploy high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU) for domestic commercial use and to develop a schedule for recovering costs associated with such development. HA-LEU is used to fuel advanced nuclear reactors which are are designed to be more efficient and safe than existing nuclear reactors.

Impact

Nuclear energy in the U.S.; development and deployment of deploy high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU); Office of Nuclear Energy in the Dept. of Energy (DOE); and creation of a public-private partnership to develop HA-LEU.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1760

In the 115th Congress, the CBO estimated that implementing this legislation would increase net direct spending by $120 million over the 2019-2028 period for DOE to purchase materials, but that the net cost would be offset in subsequent years from commercial sales of nuclear material. Additionally, the CBO estimated that the programmatic costs associated with implementing the bill would total $20 million over the 2019-2023 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Bill Flores (R-TX) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to create a public-private partnership to develop and deploy high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU) for domestic commercial use. In remarks on the floor when this legislation was being considered by the House in the 115th Congress in December 2018, Rep. Flores said: 

“[This legislation] will set the stage for powering electricity in the future in a green manner by allowing for the development of those new-generation reactors, but we have to have the fuel to do it. This bill… does that… It is a bipartisan solution to address a real need to generate electricity, always-on, baseload electricity, in a zero-emissions manner.”

After the House passed this legislation by a voice vote last Congress, Rep. Flores said

"American innovators are developing the next generation of nuclear reactors so that our nation can continue to capitalize on nuclear power’s potential as a clean, efficient and reliable source of energy. The bipartisan Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act establishes a public-private solution to develop, manufacture and transport the next generation fuels to power the advanced nuclear reactors of tomorrow. These important advancements will ensure that zero-emission nuclear power continues to provide a meaningful portion of our country’s ‘always-on, baseload’ electricity used in our homes and businesses. I urge the Senate to pass this important, bipartisan bill so that we can power our 21st century economy in an environmentally friendly way for hardworking American families."

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) supported this legislation in the 115th Congress. Its Vice President of Governmental Affairs,, Beverly Marshall, said: 

“[T]he Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act signifies continued confidence in the development of the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors. By creating a program that will make HALEU available for commercial use, we are making an important investment in the globally competitive race to design and deploy advanced reactor technology.”

Over the last few years, the U.S. nuclear power industry has faced stiff competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy. In a September 2018 report, the MIT Energy Initiative suggested that the reason new nuclear builds have stagnated is that the cost of construction is too high, not necessarily that reactor technology isn't developed enough. Nuclear power has struggled under the sheer expense of building reactors and complying with regulation, not to mention general public concern about safety and hazardous waste. 

The report argued that those factors are the key reasons for nuclear power’s lack of significant new expansion in recent decades. However, there is still political support for nuclear energy, because it's reliable, long-lived, and can produce massive amounts of power with no direct carbon emissions.

This legislation has one cosponsor, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it passed the House by a voice vote with the support of two Democratic cosponsors.


Of NoteMost nuclear reactors currently in use are very similar in nature and operate on fuel that’s generally enriched below 5%. The next generation of advanced nuclear reactors under development, however, vary in size and operation. They will also require flexibility and efficiencies from an advanced fuel, known as “high-assay, low-enriched uranium, or HA-LEU.” This fuel is enriched at higher levels than what is available in the current commercial market, specifically between 5-20%. Currently, commercial nuclear fuel suppliers, with the possible exception of Russia, can only produce uranium enriched to 5%. Globally, there are 56 nuclear reactors under construction, and more than half of those are being built by either the Russians or the Chinese. 

A March 2017 survey of 18 advanced reactor developers based in the U.S. found that the lack of availability of advanced fuels is the foremost factor that would impede the development and deployment of advanced reactor technologies. 


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / surasak petchang)

AKA

Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act

Official Title

To require the Secretary of Energy to establish and carry out a program to support the availability of HA-LEU for domestic commercial use, and for other purposes.

    The next generation of nuclear reactors will need high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU), which currently isn’t available in the U.S. This legislation would change that. We need much smaller reactors, that are safer, cleaner, with newer technologies that will provide much more energy for the U.S. than we generate with our old reactors today! Please vote yes for the Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act to develop and deploy high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU) for domestic commercial use. HA-LEU is used to fuel advanced nuclear reactors which are are designed to be more efficient and safer than existing nuclear reactors.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    No, I do not support a public-private partnership to gain access to nuclear fuels. I object to the "private" part in legislation proffered by a Republican, particularly from Texas. Somebody with "Cash-Register" eyeballs is sitting in the shadows looking forward to taxpayer subsidized profiteering. Further, public sensitivity to nuclear anything requires strict governmental standards and controls. When potentially hazardous nuclear materials are needed, they should be acquired and distributed by the federal government. Nuclear power will be required to get to the reduced carbon footprint necessary to forestall uncontrollable climate change, at least initially. Natural gas combustion, while cleaner than fossil fuels, still emits CO2, and has the potential of leaking Methane as well- which is 25 times more potent that CO2. Natural gas will have to be phased out as a combusted energy source, Locally renewable and locally stored energy resources will need augmentation from distant grid supplied power. Currently, optimally placed solar and wind power farms are subject to becoming useless should there be major shifts in air currents or persistent cloud cover. For example, if a cat 6 Hurricane blew down all the solar panels and wind turbines within a region in a carbon neutral future, how would the storm water surge pumps be powered? Where would the all-electric rescue vehicles go to plug-in? The smaller scale, alternatively fueled. much less complex and much more safe nuclear reactors currently being developed/deployed would be necessary. I prefer that our government be fully in control of the development and distribution of fuel for these reactors; which will be needed until efficient large scale energy storage and efficient grid power transfer methods are developed. After that, these kind of reactors can always augment power supplies as needed. All the climate stuff is too complex a task with potentially large risks. We need to keep all available options on the table until they are clearly no longer needed.
    Like (49)
    Follow
    Share
    Absolutely not! There should be no public-private partnerships for something as sensitive as fuel for nuclear reactors. This should remain entirely within the government’s responsibility.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Nuclear waste is a problem I don’t want to pass down to my children
    Like (14)
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    All fuel sould be the responsibility of the Dept. of Energy. The behavior of the private sector is uncontrollable. The interest is only profit In Arizona I would not trust fuel rods to APS.
    Like (12)
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    No. I don’t trust the private side of this ....national security threat here.
    Like (11)
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    This is privatization disguise and it’s doubling down on old technology when we need to be researching renewables like solar and wind. Typical Republican bullshit
    Like (8)
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    No private money! We know who the “private parts” are and they do not have the interest of the public or the country in mind. Nothing else should matter at the moment because this administration needs to be shut down. My message to you my representatives (employees) is - it is time to impeach - stop this dangerous administration.
    Like (8)
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    Safety and oversight are problematic
    Like (7)
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    I get that it’s safe, but I’d rather my tax payer dollars went to investing in renewables
    Like (7)
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    This would be a catastrophe.
    Like (6)
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    No. For the simple concern regarding safety of such technologies. Any advanced technologies will become an attractive commodity to the black market and foreign actors. I do not trust that such content can be secure.
    Like (6)
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    Actually nuclear energy is potentially very dangerous. Even if they run well, what do you do with nuclear waste? Private means profit will matter most of all....nota good combination in my opinion.
    Like (6)
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    They will corrupt it somehow some way as long as President Corrupt and his bobble headed lackeys are around and sychopants Republicans are regurgitating the swill this admin is serving.
    Like (5)
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    No... Anytime you have a company that is concerned about their bottom line, there is a temptation to cut corners. This is too dangerous to take the chance. I used to work for the government on a state level. Every time a public company got involved, the rules were different for them or they tried to change the rules. We are talking about radiation which can cause multiple problems if it gets into the air.
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    No. Emphasis should be placed on renewable sources for energy; ie. solar, wind and etc. Pass the Green New Deal.
    Like (5)
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    Nuclear although useful in the short term will haunt the world for centuries Solar and wind must be the Dept of Energy focus and mandate.
    Like (4)
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    No. Privatization has never helped any Americans other than the 1% and they don’t need any help.
    Like (4)
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    They already do this with the military....
    Like (4)
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    Anytime corporations are involved there is a lack of transparency which is what the oligarchy wants. This should be a glaring red flag for all Americans!
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