Once the US House of Representatives gets back to business there are 2 big bills with important nuclear provisions that will come up: the FY 2024 Appropriations (specifically the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill) and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Watch for NIRS ACTION ALERTS on both of these in the weeks to come.
The Federal Budget expires Nov. 17th, 2023 (continuing resolution extends until Jan 19,2024). 12 Appropriations Bills for the various federal agencies must be passed by then to avoid full or partial government shutdown.
The FY 2024 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (H.R.4394, S. 2443) passed the House and Senate each with different nuclear waste provisions.
NIRS supports the House provisions, cutting Department of Energy (DOE) funds for Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) sites for high-level nuclear power waste and
NIRS opposes the Senate version which funds CIS and attempts to legalize Consolidated Interim Storage sites for nuclear power high-level waste and directs DOE to create such a site or sites.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, H.R. 2670, S. 2226) is an enormous “must pass” bill that authorizes ~$868 Billion for the Department of Defense and part of the Department of Energy budgets for weapons, the military, veterans, and nuclear power. It directs the appropriations but is not an appropriation bill.
The Senate version of the NDAA (S. 2226) has 3 important AMENDMENTS that were added when the whole bill passed the Senate in July 2023:
We wholeheartedly support one GREAT AMENDMENT (S.Amdt.1058 to S. 2226)–the long-overdue 20-year extension and expansion of the Radiation Compensation Exposure Act (RECA) which would compensate more of the public and uranium workers suffering from exposure to radiation from US nuclear weapons. This amendment got added to the Senate version of the NDAA but is not included in the House version, so our work is to advocate for the conference committee and Congressional leaders to KEEP RECA in the final NDAA.
We oppose two BAD AMENDMENTS–
Renewal of the PRICE-ANDERSON ACT which severely limits the liability of nuclear power owners and operators and exempts nuclear weapons contractors from liability even if they are negligent. It is part of the ADVANCE Act (S. 1111) which was added in total to the Senate version of the NDAA. S. 1111 promotes new and old nuclear power in the US, allows foreign ownership of US nuclear reactors, and promotes the exportation of nuclear technology to other countries (accelerating nuclear weapons proliferation). (See NIRS Alert on S. 1111 Take Action! Tell your Senators to STOP S.1111: The ADVANCE Act of 2023)
The Nuclear Fuel Security Act would ramp up US uranium production, creating new and exacerbating existing uranium-contaminated communities, even though the massive radioactive and chemical contamination at thousands of existing (many abandoned) uranium mines and mills has not been cleaned up or meaningfully addressed. It pushes the production of unneeded High Assay HALEU fuel that verges on enrichment to nuclear bomb-grade, threatening proliferation, worse contamination, and public and worker exposures.
NIRS will be calling on you to contact your Senators and Representatives to:
–OPPOSE Consolidated Interim Storage for high level nuclear power waste in the Energy and Water Appropriation Bill
–ACTIVELY SUPPORT the Extension and Expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA, S. Amdt. 1058) in the final NDAA
–to OPPOSE renewal of the PRICE-ANDERSON Act liability limits and exemptions for nuclear companies in the final NDAA
–to OPPOSE the inclusion of the ADVANCE Act (S. 1111) in the final NDAA
–to OPPOSE the inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act (S. 452, H.R. 1086, S. Amdt.999) in the final NDAA (S.2226, H.R.2760)