Subcommittee Discusses the Future of U.S. Nuclear Energy

Dec 11, 2014
Subcommittee Discusses the Future of U.S. Nuclear Energy

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to examine the future of civilian nuclear energy in the U.S., including the potential path forward to greater utilization of nuclear energy within the country’s energy portfolio.

The subcommittee heard from two panels. Testifying on the first panel was the Honorable Peter Lyons, Assistant Secretary in the Office of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Nuclear Energy conducts research and development on advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

The second panel included Dr. Ashley Finan, Senior Project Manager of the Energy Innovation Project at the Clean Air Task Force; Mr. Mike McGough, Chief Commercial Officer at NuScale Power; Dr. Leslie Dewan, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Transatomic Power; and Mr. Daniel Lipman, Executive Director of Policy Development at the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said, “I have stated numerous times that I support an ‘all of the above’ approach toward a clean energy economy, and achieving safer, more cost-effective, and environmentally friendly ways to utilize nuclear energy can play an important role in this mix. We just need to make sure that we are making the smartest investments we can with our limited resources, and that they are in the best interests of the American people.”

Subcommittee Members and witnesses discussed the financing and regulatory challenges in nuclear energy development, the current Administration’s investments in nuclear energy research, the need for supportive federal policies, and the balance between greater deployment of nuclear power and ensuring the safety of our nuclear enterprise.

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said in her statement for the record, “Nuclear power plays a major role in providing our country with reliable energy. As a nation, it produces almost 20 percent of our total energy, and it provides almost 9 percent of the electricity generated in the great state of Texas – all with essentially no greenhouse gas emissions. However, I also recognize that there are significant challenges to the nuclear industry going forward.”

Democratic Members emphasized the need for continued federally supported research in partnership with private industry investments to expeditiously address these challenges in the coming years. These crucial research investments will have a major impact on nuclear energy policies and regulations.