Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Nuclear Energy Leadership Act Gains Support from House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

June 30, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released its findings and recommendations for how Congress should address the challenges posed by climate change, such as sea level rise and recurrent flooding. The report highlighted the need to support research and development for next-generation nuclear technology, specifically citing Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s bill, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (H.R. 3306).

“As an engineer who operated nuclear reactors on aircraft carriers, I know that investing in the civilian nuclear energy industry is vital not only for the advancement of clean, carbon-free energy alternatives, but is also critical for our national security interests,” said Congresswoman Luria. “I am pleased that the House Select Committee has recommended passage of my bipartisan bill, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act.”

Most recently, the two test reactors included in NELA were successfully funded in last year’s appropriations bill. Currently, NELA has seven key sections designed to jumpstart innovation in advanced nuclear energy:

  • Establishing a nationwide strategy for nuclear science and engineering research and development
  • Providing for at least two advanced nuclear reactor demonstration projects, to be completed by the end of 2025
  • Revising federal energy contracting authority so the government can enter into Power Purchase Agreements for up to 40 years, better reflecting the length of time that nuclear power offers a return on investment
  • Starting a pilot program for a long-term nuclear Power Purchase Agreement featuring breakthrough, first-of-its-kind nuclear technology
  • Requiring the Department of Energy to provide a source for fast-neutron research, which will be key for testing advanced nuclear concepts
  • Creating a program to begin supplying reactors with High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) fuel, which will be needed for many advanced reactor designs
  • Establishing a University Nuclear Leadership Program to provide scholarships and funding for students pursuing studies in nuclear science.

Last summer, Congresswoman Luria hosted Select Committee Chair Kathy Castor (FL-14) on a tour of areas in Hampton Roads impacted by recurrent flooding and sea level rise, including the Port of Virginia, Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic HQ, Norfolk Naval Station, Myrtle Park, and the Fernwood Farms neighborhood. During Chair Castor’s visit of Hampton Roads, Congresswoman Luria emphasized the need to find bipartisan solutions to the consequences of climate change on coastal communities.

Link to the full report can be found here.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.