Summary: S.2795 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (06/23/2016)

Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act

(Sec. 3) This bill provides for: (1) a program to develop the expertise and regulatory processes necessary to allow innovation and the commercialization of advanced nuclear reactors, and (2) a revised fee recovery structure to ensure the availability of resources to meet industry needs without burdening existing licensees unfairly for inaccurate workload projections or premature existing reactor closures.

(Sec. 4) Definitions are provided for terms used in this bill, including "advanced nuclear reactor."

(Sec. 5) The bill amends the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 to remove amounts appropriated for the Advanced Reactor Program from the NRC's fee recovery requirement.

(Sec. 6) The NRC must ensure that it has adequate funding to conduct and accelerate the licensing of advanced nuclear reactor facilities.

The bill directs the NRC to ensure the collection of fees is equal to their budget authority. The NRC is authorized to collect fees through: (1) fees for services that specifically benefit a particular person or entity, and (2) annual fees to fund regulatory costs. The bill places a cap on the amount of annual fee that may be charged to an operating reactor. The NRC may waive the cap for one-year.

Performance metrics and milestone schedules must be developed for activities requested by applicants and licensees to improve transparency and accountability. In addition, the NRC must implement processes to ensure accurate invoicing.

(Sec. 7) The NRC must establish stages within the licensing process for reactors and implement risk-informed performance-based licensing evaluation techniques and guidance. Research and test reactor licensing must also be developed. In addition, the NRC must complete a rulemaking by the end of 2023 to establish a technology-inclusive regulatory framework for licensing advanced nuclear reactors.

The NRC is also directed to train staff and develop the expertise required to implement stages within the licensing process.

The NRC must report to Congress on: (1) the implementation of stages in the licensing process, and (2) the use of risk-informed and performance-based techniques within the existing regulatory framework.

(Sec. 8) The Department of Energy shall establish a program to make cost-share grants to applicants for the purpose of funding a portion of the NRC pre-application and application review fees.

(Sec. 9) The NRC must report to Congress within one year regarding the safety and feasibility of extending the duration of uranium recovery licenses from 10 to 20 years.