Duncan Introduces the Modernize Nuclear Reactor Environmental Reviews Act

March 16, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03) introduced H.R. 1559, the Modernize Nuclear Reactor Environmental Reviews Act in the 117th Congress:   

“Nuclear energy is a critical part of our nation’s energy matrix. It is a carbon-free, 24/7 baseload power supply that protects our national security and plays a critical role in furthering the American Energy Renaissance. Nuclear power generates nearly 56% of our electricity in South Carolina and about 20% of our electricity nationwide. As we continue to strive for more reliable clean power across the United States and work to maintain our energy leadership on a global scale, we must keep in mind the importance of updating the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) burdensome environmental review process required for nuclear reactor licensing. According to industry data, the cost of the environmental review process has tripled over the last ten years, and completion of the process averages about four years, creating a significant barrier to getting carbon-free nuclear power online.

“My bill, H.R. 1559 the Modernize Nuclear Reactor Environmental Reviews Act, would streamline the environmental review process for nuclear reactors, especially advanced reactors. The bill directs the NRC to evaluate the current environmental review process for reactors and identify areas where there are reasonable options for less burdensome assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The bill would then require the NRC to conduct a rulemaking to implement these more efficient licensing options. The United States must continue to enhance our domestic nuclear energy production, maintain global competitiveness, and continue to reduce our carbon emissions, and I am confident my bill will contribute to these efforts.”

Read the bill HERE.

Quotes of Support:

“We applaud Representative Jeff Duncan’s (R-SC-3) continued commitment to helping make the NRC a more modern and efficient regulator. This bill will help streamline and modernize the NRC’s environmental review process ensuring the safe and efficient deployment of more carbon-free nuclear power onto the grid. Streamlining of NRC environmental reviews recognizes the decades of experience that nuclear facilities have minimal environmental impacts and help avoid large amounts of carbon emissions.”- Maria Korsnick, President and Chief Executive Officer at NEI

"Rep. Duncan's modernized approach to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's environmental review process will be a gamechanger for future American reactor designs, enabling their deployment to aid in decarbonization. Our current fleet of reactors collectively has hundreds of operating years, proving nuclear energy's low-carbon environmental impact. We should remain focused on deploying America's next generation of reactors as rapidly as possible." - Rich Powell, Executive Director of ClearPath

“Congressman Duncan understands that a diversified fuel mix is essential for addressing climate change and continuing to reduce emissions. This bill illustrates his understanding that in addition to the existing fleet of nuclear reactors, which accounts for over half of the nation’s carbon-free electricity and provides half of the electricity for Duke Energy customers in the Carolinas, we need a modern and streamlined regulatory approach that allows for the development of future reactors to help further reduce carbon emissions and reach our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.” - Kelvin Henderson, Duke Energy Chief Nuclear Officer 

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