Lummis Strengthens WY’s Status as Global Energy Leader

May 31, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed the ADVANCE Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). The bill will enable Wyoming to continue powering America to be the global leader in energy by ensuring that our nation has the most sophisticated nuclear energy technology. 

“Wyoming has played a key role in making our nation a global energy giant, including in the nuclear industry by leading the nation in uranium production,” Senator Lummis said. “We need to expand this reliable energy source, and strengthen and advance our nation’s nuclear energy capabilities. I’m thrilled the EPW Committee advanced this important legislation.” 

During the markup, Senator Lummis raised concerns regarding federal agencies conducting duplicative environmental oversight of the same project. Dual oversight issues have created burdensome red tape and unnecessarily slowed down Wyoming’s TerraPower project, called Natrium, at a retiring coal-fired power plant in Kemmerer. Senator Lummis plans to continue her efforts to advance permitting reform that addresses redundant and onerous practices like this.   

The ADVANCE Act will:

  • Facilitate American Nuclear Leadership by:
    • Empowering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to lead in international forums to develop regulations for advanced nuclear reactors.
    • Establishing a joint Commerce Department and Energy Department initiative to facilitate outreach to nations that are seeking to develop advanced nuclear energy programs.
  • Develop and Deploy New Nuclear Technologies by:
    • Reducing regulatory costs for companies seeking to license advanced nuclear reactor technologies.
    • Creating a prize to incentivize the successful deployment of next-generation nuclear reactor technologies.
    • Requiring the NRC to develop a pathway to enable the timely licensing of nuclear facilities at brownfield sites.
  • Preserve Existing Nuclear Energy by:
    • Modernizing outdated rules that restrict international investment.
    • Extending a long-established, indemnification policy necessary to enable the continued operation of today’s reactors and give certainty for capital investments in building new reactors.
  • Strengthen America’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain Infrastructure by:
    • Directing the NRC to establish an initiative to enhance preparedness to qualify and license advanced nuclear fuels.
    • The bill identifies modern manufacturing techniques to build nuclear reactors better, faster, cheaper, and smarter.
  • Authorize funds for Environmental Cleanup Programs by:
    • Authorizing funding to assist in cleaning up legacy abandoned mining sites on Tribal lands.
  • Improve Commission Efficiency by:
    • Providing the NRC Chair the tools to hire and retain highly specialized staff and exceptionally well-qualified individuals to successfully and safely review and approve advanced nuclear reactor licenses. This is essential with the NRC staff under attrition pressure due to an aging workforce.
    • Requiring the NRC to periodically review and assess performance metrics and milestone schedules to ensure licensing can be completed on an efficient schedule. 

Full text of the ADVANCE Act as passed out of committee can be found here.