Friday, April 29, 2016

H.R. 4979: Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016

We support passage of the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016 [H.R. 4979].

H.R. 4979 was introduced earlier this month by Congressmen Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.). The legislation is designed to foster civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies, improve licensing and enable commercial deployment.


The bill adopts a straightforward approach to making Nuclear Regulatory Commission fees more equitable. It would continue to require the industry to pay for all agency activity attributable to a licensee or a class of licensees, but disallow collection of fees associated with the agency’s corporate support. This approach would require the NRC to justify corporate support costs to Congress in order to receive appropriations and, in turn, prompt the NRC to control its budget and reduce or eliminate wasteful spending.
The NRC’s budget is approximately $1 billion per year despite significant declines in its workload, including recent premature plant shut downs. The NRC collects 90 percent of its budget from licensees, but the budget has not correspondingly declined, and the remaining licensees are responsible for paying higher annual fees. 
With recent premature shutdowns—and additional reactors decommissioning in the coming years—the current fee structure virtually guarantees that remaining licensees will continue to bear even higher annual fees. And it is effectively impossible to determine whether the fees charged are justified.  (NEI, 4/29/2016)

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