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Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 2010

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I am pleased to be a cosponsor of H.R. 5866, and I thank Chairman Gordon and Ranking Member Hall for their leadership on this legislation.

Due to population and estimated economic growth over the next 25 years, the United States' demand for electricity is expected to rise by 30 percent. To meet rising demand for power for our homes and businesses, we need to expand our domestic and electricity production and create affordable, reliable electricity production in an environmentally responsible way. Nuclear power is the only way to do this.

My home State of Illinois already leads the way, deriving half of its electricity from nuclear energy, but we need to do more to expand nuclear here and across the country. That is why I cosponsored this legislation which supports the development and deployment of small modular nuclear reactors and reauthorizes nuclear R&D activities at the Department of Energy.

A complement to existing large-scale reactors, small modular reactors create less time and money to construct and are based on current reactor designs, thereby reducing the burdensome licensing process. This is an ideal solution for growing communities and cash-strapped utilities that need extra generation capacity at a fraction of the cost.

More importantly, H.R. 5866 extends and modifies R&D activities that promote advanced research to close the nuclear fuel cycle and recycle spent nuclear fuel. My district's scientists and engineers at Argonne National Laboratory lead the Nation in research and development for nuclear fuel or recycling.

Recycling is not just important for the reduction of waste created but also for the conservation of worldwide uranium resources. It will also encourage the deployment of expanded nuclear power for industry and States that want to provide affordable electricity without unnecessary liabilities.

In summary, H.R. 5866 is a strong bipartisan bill. It will complement the current revival of the nuclear industry by extending DOE's research and development activities to pursue longer term advances in three ways: reactor designs, fuel cycle R&D, and in crosscutting areas such as materials and computer modeling and simulation.

I do want to note that there are a few minor changes made to the bill that was reported by the committee in section 4 and section 15. These changes should in no way be interpreted to change the intent or purpose of the language.

This bill is endorsed by a comprehensive group of key stakeholders, including the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Next Generation Nuclear Plant Industry Alliance, the American Chemical Society, Toshiba-Westinghouse, and GE-Hitachi.

I urge Members to support H.R. 5866.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mrs. BIGGERT. In closing, I would like to thank the chairman for all of the work he has done as chairman of the Science Committee, and this bill shows what you've been able to accomplish in the research and development, the basic science, and how this will benefit so much our country, and we really thank you for all the work that you put into this.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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