Reps. Upton, Johnson request reform of international civil nuclear trade authorizations speed

Published on December 06, 2017 by Chris Galford

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U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) and Fred Upton (R-Mich), both of the subcommittee on Energy, dispatched a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry this week, asking for full implementation of civil nuclear trade reforms.

The pair displayed concern over the pace at which the Department of Energy has been implementing these reforms to an authorization of exports of civil nuclear energy technology, better known as Part 810. In their letter, they pointed out that the average processing time for some applications therein can take nearly 400 days–up from an average of 130 days back in the 1990s.

That fact is holding nuclear commerce back, in their opinion.

“While DOE is in the process of implementing some targeted reforms, more work remains to accelerate agency decision-making so that our domestic nuclear technology leaders have timely answers necessary to compete effectively with other nations’ nuclear programs,” the representatives wrote. “The significance of improving this process is particularly critical given the Energy Information Administration’s projection that over two hundred gigawatts of new nuclear generation will be built by other nations in 2040.”

They proposed four questions of Perry, including what steps the DOE is taking to improve efficiency and predictability in the process, how long full implementation of pending reforms is expected to take, what other reforms the DOE might consider to promote the U.S. nuclear industry abroad, and what reforms could Congress address to help.