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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 22, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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forces to protect sunni communities. the sunni militias not going to be accepted. is going to have to be a national force. i think the challenges develop that type of security in the region. the united states is critically important. yes, it's our military, our air support, our our air support, our technical training that can help provide that climate. it will be for an extended. ofca time. ultimately, it will be up to the syrians, iraqis, the syrians, iraqis, saudis to defend themselves. >> dave in massachusetts, good morning. >> caller: high. senator, i'm a fan. the senator in half on your committee. >> guest: he is the chairman yes >> caller: what about >> guest: yes that's what it is. are you in climate change.
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>> guest: i'll be giving his speech on the floor of the united states senate. tomorrow's earth date and president obama is in new york will see many countries sign the top 21 agreement for 196 countries, 90% of the global admissions of the world will sign a commitment towards working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. i was in france during the negotiations. i'm a strong supporter of the u.s. leadership globally and in this country to dramatically reduce our emissions. >> caller: did you hear senator in half on the floor and those 192 countries going two countries going to be disappointed.. how do you work with someone like that. >> guest: i've known jim ever since i've come to congress we came in the same year, 1987. he is a good person. he is just wrong on climate. totally wrong. the way i answer that is, look, let's let the scientist determine what we need to do in order to keep our globe healthy.
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what can we do in order to protect our environment and future generations. scientists tell us what we need to do, overwhelming opinion of scientists is that the activity here on this earth is affecting climate and that we have an ability to change and for the better. if we don't do it soon it is going to have catastrophic impact. we need to act. >> host: this bill that the senate passed, legislation turned to a moderate landscape, on wednesday the past the first broad energy bills since the george w. bush administration. they aligned it with the changing waves that powers produced in the united states. it it was a proof 58-12. >> guest: i don't think those are the right numbers.
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>> host: 851285-12. provisions >> guest: it was a major advancement of the bill, it was bipartisan, we've been been working on for about five years to get it done. it contains many provisions that many of us have been working onr the main goal is to increase our energy supply particularly renewable and noncarbon source e energy that they have questions to deal with a friendly environment. it also deals with energy conservation in a major way so we use less energy. it is a major bill. we also included in that bill some of our major environmental programs are being reauthorized. i had bills that i filed that were able to get into this legislation. it's a major >> host: the new york times as it needs fixes the. >> guest: if i were writing the bill i would write it differently. obviously i was disappointed we did not get the tax section into this bill that would've provided for the renewables to have the same tax
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advantages as the fossil fuel industry has. the so-called 48c provisions. very disappointed that to not get in. >> host: let's go to an independent caller. the house is going to gavilan at nine go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: good morning. a country my question is we are country that fights for human rights, fights against aggressors and progress are's. so the question is, why are we doing anything against the aggression thatth saudi arabia is doing in yemen, and by ray they have their army going into another country and oppressing people who are demonstrating against the government. they don't have any arms or anything, they're being killed every day. nothing has been said about that. saudi arabia is funding the boca
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her on, al shabab, al qaeda, and all and all the other groups all over the world. nineteen of the people who flew planes into the world trade center were saudi's. the only country that was worse was the 911 bill we don't say anything about that. always say is, i i ran this, ran that and all that.i alre well we can have a peaceful relationship with iran. so i wanted wanted to know what your comments are about that. >> we do say that and i sam the show that our objection to the way i run handles women a trip women's rights, labor, your correct, sorry saudis handle these issues. it's also true that in the gulfn countries they do support organizations that we believe are terrorist organizations. we have seen that funding flow
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between several gulf countries and terrorist organizations. hee we have been aggressive in changing that behavior.ration to change t in some meetings i held in the region a couple weeks ago, i'm sure the president is following up on this in his visit. we have gotten the cooperation to change their behavior. to share information about their banking system so we can track money to make sure it does not get to extremist hands and terrorist groups. we are getting better itoperation. is it where we wanted to be? no. too much of the resources from people in their country is goina to terrorist organizations. it's complicated. the royal family and saudi arabia is huge. that are , there is a lot of arms to the royal family and yes, some we think are doing things that are against her interest and we will very much be vocal about that.
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>> host: that word has different connotations now. president obama is speaking to the gulf nations right now at this summit. natchez was saudi arabia leaders both other arab leaders as well. an update for all of you. earlier we told you the campaign manager for bernie sanders said he is a democrat for life, even postelection if he doesn't went in the presidential primary. but this from a reporter for the washington -- that he is alread filed for reelection in the senate as an independent. there's the paperwork at the top of that tweet for the 2016 committee information. friends of bernie sanders that he is a filing as an independent to run again two years from now for his seat against him vermont. we asked if it's dividing the party, both democrats and rights republicans, democrats, do you think that bernie sanders and his campaign, given the gap
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right now needs to tone it down? spee2 first of all, i think i think the campaign has been healthy for the democrats. i think it's going to help hillary clinton be our nominee in the next president of the united states.s. senator sanders is a good friend, he's raised a lot of important issues. i think he is in the heat of a campaign, there's going to be days i wish things were handled differently, there's no question about that. overall the campaign has been healthy for the democratic party in our country. >> host: should he stay in this race to the july?quite a >> guest: that's his decision. i can tell senator sanders what he should do, he should make that based upon the way that he is running his campaign, his supporters, how he thinks it's best to manage the remaining days before the nomination. >> host: your colleague reverenn -- is retiring. there's quite a race for her see, you are not endorsing in that primary, why not?
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>> first all let me remind you that you can vote until 8:00 o'clock tonight. early voting and then if you haven't voted by today, tuesday the polls open early morning to late night please be sure you vote. i believe that we have good people running. democrats will make that judgment us who they believe would be the best. i'm. i'm proud of both the people running on the democratic side. >> host: john edwards is saying that it should be a woman and it should be an african-american that represents marilyn, not no offense, another white man. look, each candidate bring certain strength and weaknesses to the campaign, there's no question about that. i want
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marylanders to nominate the person they believe would be the best to represent their interest in the united states senate. we have senator mikulski now, what an incredible leader she has been. we want to make been. we want to make sure we have our very best to fill shoes. >> host: we'll senator, thank you very much for your time this morning. >> c-span's washington journal, live everyday with news and policy issues that impact too. coming up on friday morning, jeff adelson, politics reporter for the new orleans advocate will join us by phone to discuss the debate over the removal of confederate monuments in new orleans. the mayor has that back the city the mayor has it back to the city council effort to remove a number of confederate monuments on public land. however, the city remains divided on the issue. then, hannah smith, senior counsel for the second fund for religious liberty will be on to talk about the recently argued case. the case deals with religious liberty and the affordable care act contraceptive mandate. chris know but -- he's the author of the book of grunge and government, let's fix this a broken democracy he joins us to discuss a variety of electoral reform.
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be sure to watch "washington journal" beginning lives 7:00 a.m. eastern on friday morning. >> of next on c-span two, a look look at nuclear energy innovation, safety, and modernization proposal. then, agriculture still secretary tom bill sack on hunger and food assistant programs. >> a panel of military and foreign policy analyst will talk about the challenges and benefits of integrating women into the armed forces. we'll hear from the author of ashley's work, the untold story of the team a woman's shoulders on a special battlefield. will have live. will have live coverage tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2. later in the morning the republican national committee spring meeting continues.
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thursday the rnc decided not to change the rules on how their presidential nominee will be chosen if there is a contest to convention. we'll have live coverage at 1030 eastern time. >> madam secretary, we probably give 72 of of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. [applause]. [applause]. >> up next, senate panel looks at nuclear energy regulation and innovation proposals. the senate environment and public works committee is
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working on legislation to try to modernize nuclear regulatory commission. the subcommittee on clean air and nuclear energy is chaired by senator shelley of west virginia. [inaudible] [inaudible]naudible] >> i would like to welcome our witnesses today. a particular welcome to alumnus of the committee, mr. merrifield who told me he began here inpa 1986 i think.98 i appreciate your returning. as each witness knows you have five minute for oral statement and then we'll take questions. we are here today to examine an
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exciting topic. that is advanced nuclear reactors. i like to think senator carper. while nuclear nuclear issues arl somewhat new to me and learning these technologies have the potential to make great strides in advancing nuclear technology. this is a topic many of us are very interested in because nuclear energy is essential component for and all the above energy policy. our current nuclear current nuclear plant provides a clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to power our economy by providing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of benefits for local community. they have made valuable contribution to our energy security for years. we look forward to what comes next. advance reactors have the potential to be cleaner, safer, more secure.
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one purpose for the hearing is to better understand the technology of the barrier to their development. the other purpose of the hearing is to examine s 2795, the nuclear energy innovation and modernization act which was introduced last week by mikecldu collects. to develop a as 2975 directs the nrc to develop a regulatory framework under which license application for a variety of technologies can be review. in keeping withih the nrc's safety and security mission. the existing regulations were designed run one technology. they're they're not well-suited for the innovations underway. this is an issue this is an issue or committee needs to address and i'm glad my colleagues have come forward with a solution. efficient and timely decision-making at the nrc is crucial for our existing plans are for emerging technologies. t the bill modernizes the budget and structure to ensure funds are available for complete reviews. the industry needs to meet remain economically competitive, and will allow emergent technologies to grow.
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the undersea safety and security mission is a vital one. it must be accomplished efficiently and with fiscal discipline. according to the nrc principles of good regulation, the american taxpayer, the) customer and licensee, are all entitled to the best possible management and administration of regulatory activities. this bill aligns with this principle and i think aligns with this principle and i thank my colleagues for their hard work and bipartisanship to advance invitedip new technologies. these are technologies where nation should lead the way. not just for our energy security, but also in the interest of our national security. only by leading can we hope to advance our nonproliferation goals. with that, i'm anxious to hear the senator's remarks than to hear the senators remarks and those of our witness. >> thank you madam german. it's a good to be here with all ourea. colleagues. i want to welcome each of you, it's nice to see one of you again for many years now. and to
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have a chance to welcome others back into meet some of you foror the first time. when our country began exploring nuclear power more than 60 years ago, i don't know how people really had much of an idea of how poor this technology would be to the future of our nation's energy supply. serious incident to place like chernobyl, 3-mile island, fukushima caused a, fukushima caused a number of people both at home and around the world to question the viability of nuclear power. i think support for this clean, reliable technology has begun to grow again. in recent years. given that the development congress has important role to play in ensuring our nation invest wisely in nuclear what maintaining our focus on safetyr many americans may be unaware that nuclear technology was actually invented in the united states, for number of years our nation led the world in nuclear manufacturing and construction.
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jobs in the economic benefit of this growth state here at home for the most part. unfortunatelc this this is no longer the case, many nuclear components are now only available from our international economic competitors including the french. south koreans, japanese, japanese, now the chinese. while the united states continue to have more nuclear power plants than any other country. china in particular. at the same time are nuclear reactors are getting older andnd need be replaced in years tolacn come. some believe our success story may be winding down but i believe like a distance runner, nuclear power power in america is just getting it second win. albert einstein you stay with adversity lies opportunity, he he was right then, and he is right today. while this industry has faced
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adversity in recent years, it appears to be an amount of opportunity now and if we're smart, we'll seize the day and begin to replace her aging nuclear reactors with new ones in the years ahead that are thth safer, produce less and are less expensive to build and operate. for smart about it, ever seen opportunity to develop and build the next generation of nuclear reactors on american soil. i've received chance to for some of our close manufacturing plants will reopen, construction crews will be called back to week and we will face your renewed demand for industry for skill, nuclear technicians. in short, i see an opportunity for the united states once again lead the world in nuclear technology. the world today's hearing is about how we seize this opportunity. decisions we make today will impact to what type of reactors will be operating in the country 10, 20, even 50 years from now unfortunately, there's been good progress of late and beginning to deploy new nuclear
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technology. several years technology. several years ago the nrc approved construction for new in t in georgia which up-to-date safety technology. it's creating thousands of new jobs in those states. it's becoming increasingly likely that small, modular reactors will become our re- the first ones to become active in the next decade. this is an encouraging start but i know we canna need to do better. i've also heard from businesses and do believe that we can do to do better, over 50 companies are investing in next-generation nuclear technologies today, we will hear directly from a company company that is making some of those investments. as these companies make advancee in technologies we need to make sure that our regulatory framework and keep pace, the undersea is considered the gold standard of nuclear agencies however science and technology evolve so much at the undersea. in closing, i believe that government in this country has a number roles to play, among them
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is helping to create a neutrino environment for job creation and job preservation. that includes making sure that we have affordable, dependable energy and we produce it safely in this country. in ways that diminish the threat of climate change rather than increasing. advancing in nuclear energy can help us attain and provide a more promising future for our nation and for his people and for our planet. i hope we learn today with the rules of the undersea and other agencies need to play that promising future is to realize.d ds >> thank you with that of think the chairman. >> i like my statement to be put in the record. >> without objection. again, i like to to think the witnesses and welcome you to give a five-minute statement.a your full testimony is better for the record and then we'll go through a round of questioning.
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>> senator booker, i understand you like to make a comment about the bill in advance of the testimony. >> i am very grateful chairmanmt for this opportunity, thank you for giving me a chance to say few words. i'm a senator with no name today. i want you to reckon i separated reckon is that. and senator his name shall not be mentioned. m but, thank you, i seem to be doing this often but thinking centers in half, white house and crapo for your partnership on this important bill. american american leadership are nuclear energy is absolutely critical. the paris agreement set ambitious goals scientists agree that even if all countries meet their commitments under this pack, we're not on track to meet this ambitious target, not even close. being the rising demand while slashing carbon emissions
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presents a very difficult challenge for this generation. think about this. by 2050, meeting the paris targets will requires to cut emissions by 70% while producing 70% more electricity.that's an incrediblf that's an incredibly difficult thing to do. to produce 70% more electricity than we do today want the same time admitting 70 less carbon. i'm a big believer in energy efficiency and renewable energy. i followed other senators to expand the tax credits last year for renewables. in order to avert the worst effects of climate change, we do not see any way around the idea that we must substantially increase our nuclear energy capacity. i'm now back to normal. in the coming decades. we have no choice but to increased ugly capacity. nuclear nuclear energy which provides a critical, baseload power currently comprises more than 60% of our nation's free, electricity gene. generation.
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right now the united states we s have five new reactors under construction. the first new commercial unit in 30 years. several existing reactors have been shut down prematurely and many more are at risk. we need to make sure that we see dozens of more private sectorr companies are beginning to move into this area and help to produce an environment where there are making their billion dollars of investment. we desperately need sound, long-term government policy that will support our existing fleet and also support a sustained commitment by the private sector to advance nuclear reactors that can become commercialized in the future.t this bill, s2795 take several positive and bipartisan steps in that direction. first it was direct nrc to develop new state licensing processing for advanced nuclear
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reactors. second, the bill would over longer terms, put in place new technology, inclusive regulatory framework, it wouldno make licensing more efficient, flexible and predictable. while maintaining the undersea safety and security missions. there, the bill would authorize a new posturing grant program that the department of energy would help the first advance reactor project that moved forward to pay for some of the licensingmo cost at nrc. it would place a cap on the nlp that existing nuclear reactors paid to the nrc, while this cap may never be hit, putting it in place would provide certainty and protection for existingrovir fleet. this is a critical challenge we have in our nation right now. making sure we are meeting our energy needs, dealing with the reality of climate change and empowering business and innovation. we i'm very happy to have working in a bipartisan fashion on what is a solid bill helping to take step four. thank you chairman for providing
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the opportunity to make an introduction to the bill. i look for to hearing from our witnesses. >> just a 102nd response for you let me just assure you that while we enjoy this bill, we are cosponsoring the bill, it has nothing to do with global warming and this disaster that you're going to see tomorrow what they call earth day in new york is an embarrassment. the president is not even going up for. my motivation on this is, when i say all of the above, to saveve this country, all energy, it includes >> thank you. another bill sponsor would like to make an introduction to the bill. >> thank you madame german. i appreciate the effort you need to be here today and senators and have, white house, booker and i have introduce legislatioo
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to assure that the will be ready to license advance reactor designs as companies are ready to commercialize them. we have undertaken a deep dive into the workings of the commission. their hearings and discussions with officials and stakeholders, we have developed a plan that will help modernize the commission and enable it to stay abreast of reactor design advancements in the nuclear industry. our bill, the nuclear or nemo. increases transparency and accountability in the budget and feee structure through modernizing reforms that are based on years of ep w oversight efforts. the measure also directs the agency to develop a technology inclusive regulatory framework enabling the commission to review a diverse set of reactive technologies. the improvement mean a great deal of transparency and accountability to the nrc. we want the commission to make changes that allow stakeholders of various backgrounds and motivations to look at the commission's action and understand what it's doing. partic in particular, the agency must be more transparent and his budgeting and fee process. this. this is especially true regarding the commission overhead costs.
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when an nrc talks about overhead costs, it refers to activities that may be categorized as corporate support, office support, and mission indirect. at this point, our bill only ptthe corporate support costs because that is the only portion of the ct,dill overhead cost thn get the nrc to clearly label and divine. the nrc must endeavor to make its budgeting information more transparent and accessible. some amount of overhead is necessary for all organizations. nonetheless, the undersea needs to be able to clearly count for overhead costs and the weight uses it uses fee for licenses to support these costs. clear and transparent budget processes are required for effective needs to this is something i look forward to working with my fellow colleagues on in this bill and beyond. finally, it's imperative that the licensing process for advance reactors is transparent. nice to. needs to take into account past
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lessons learned. we enable the nrc to create a technology inclusive regulatory. framework. by creating technology inclusive framework we enable the nrc to review and license any advance reactor design that it considern to be safe and secure. we are not enforcing the in rc pick winners and looters by forcing it to allocate resources on one type of reactor. as a whole, nemo provides important transparency and accountability improvements across the nrc and improves the communication between various stakeholder groups and the agency. enabling better transparency, accountability and communication are critical to ensuring the nrc remains the world's preeminent safety and security regulator. such improvements also provide stability and predictability in the industry. >> .. safety regulatory. such improvements provide stability and predictability in the industry and among stakeholder groups. increasing the nrc's ability to be transparent and accountable will increase its ability to perform
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its safety mission and share information with all stakeholder groups. thank you very much. >> i would like to go to the witnesses. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] two plus two equals cheese doesn't make sense at all. we do have new technologies that are courage in. they have enormous promise for a
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carbon-constrained world. we have done in america a lot of the leadership designed for them but if we can't get them through a process to where they are creating electrons then we haven't done ourselves any good, so i look forward to pursuing this. i would add two brief points. one is that it should remain a very high priority all of this committee and this process to continue to point towards ways to use, reuse i should say spent nuclear fuel. point toward to reuse spent nuclear fuel.
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[inaudible] [inaudible] >> the last thing i'll say that i think it is a tragedy that we are losing some of our nuclear facilities to in economic problem that there is no payment for their carbon free power. if a nuclear plant is not safe then i am the first person to want to shut it down, yesterday. but if the only reason it is being shut down is it because it cannot compete economically with the natural gas plant, and the
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only reason it can't compete economically with natural gas plant is because it gets no benefit for being carbon free one across the country, and our corporate world and throughout her government we recognize there's actually value of being carbon free than what we are doing is artificially damaging in industry that should be doing better. we need to figure out a way to make sure there is in fact a payment to this industry for the carbon free value of the electrons they produce. with that, i will close my comments, i think my colleagues on this bill for their leadership, i am delighted to be working with them. >> thank you. so we'll proceed with the witnesses. i will will begin on my left with doctor christina bock was the division director, general atomics and advance vision. welcome. >> thank you very much. i would i would like to thank the chairman, the ranking member for holding this hearing and chairman and senators for their legislation. of course thank thank you to my home senate
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state senator, my name is christina bock, i am the vice president nuclear technologies and material of general atomics. ga is a privately held company with over 60 years of experience in nuclear energy. one where we continuously push the technological envelope. i i was asked to describe what nuclear reactors are and what we believe it may be appropriate issues for you to consider when developing public policy for encouraging the development of new reactors. we believe advance reactors are vital for making nuclear power. economically competitive, and vital to reversing the current decline of the nuclear industry. in order to be helpful to the committee's efforts i would like to start by noting the term advance reactors is somewhat loosely used. some people consider them to be non- light water reactors while others mean new light water reactors.
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we believe at advanced reactor concept is one whose design is guided by the four core principles that help ensure economic success. these principles are, to produce significantly cheaper electricity, to be safer, to produce significantly less waste , and reduce the proliferation risk. we we believe every worthy reactor concept must address these for core principles jointly. if it is to be read advanced reactor. it it is not sufficient to excel in just one with disregard to the others. now i would like to discuss ga's reactor concept. this is one of many of the advanced reactor concepts we referred to before. ga has a concept which is energy model module or em squared. the way of illustrating what it
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fans can mean i would like to discuss this reactor. ga chose to employ innovative design and engineering materials to meet the four core principles. what makes it compelling to think about nuclear reactors and advanced reactors now is that in the past 30 years scientists have made unprecedented advances in understanding materials. we at g8 know-how to manipulate these materials, we are we are trying to revitalize the nuclear industry with them. now let's consider each of the principal i mentioned. the first is cost. the drive to make it cheaper reactor lettuce to design a much smaller reactor, one that would produce up to 60% more power than today's reactor from the same amount of heat. second second is safety. for a radical improvement in safety em squared uses engineers remic materials to hold the fuel
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that work in intense radiation and withstand more than two times higher temperature than current reactor materials today. it would not be subject to failures like those in fukushima. third, his waist. em squared will reduce the amount of waste by at least 80%, the reactor can also use reactor waste as fuel, thus turning this waste into energy. fourth is not proliferation. em square keeps a fuel in the reactor for 30 years, without the need for refueling or repositioning the fuel rods. this means we access the core once, much less than the 20 times 20 times that the current reactors need for existing refueling. we calculate that em square will produce power at approximately 40% lower cost than today's reactors. and be passably safe. that's for
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any new reactor design, this will require extensive interaction with the nrc, we think involving the nrc early in this process is important to inform the design for safer reactor. radically new concepts require upfront investments involving risk. some of these investments may not pay off and even those that are successful could take up to ten years to produce revenue. while ga has already invested warty million em squared, is hard to divert scarce dollars from r&d to nrc considerations at this early point in time. if this committee's objective is to stimulate the development of new advance reactors, hopefully as we have defined and outlined here we suggest it would be relatively inexpensive to involve nrc early in the process with high impact. we suggest the committee consider authorizing their preparation of 5,000,000 dollars at first to provide nrc services to developers every
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advance reactors and with the relatively low cost share of 3%. the nrc is important in necessary for ensuring nuclear power, therefore it plays a critical role in nuclear power innovation. in closing, i would like to say that this is a very exciting time in nuclear energy right now, i love that i get to put science and practice, and engage the next generation of scientists and engineers and help meet the nation's energy needs by creating an new, by creating a new, innovative way to produce clean and safe power. thank you for the efforts of this committee and thank you for the opportunity to speak to. i would be pleased to answer questions. >> thank you. our next witnesses that doctor ashley simon who is the project director of clean air task force. welcome. >> thank you.
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thank you for holding the hearing and giving me the opportunity to testify. my name is ashley, i am policy director for the nuclear innovation alliance. a nonprofit organization dedicated to leading advanced nuclear energy innovation. the nia was established by a crosscutting group who believe that advanced nuclear energy is needed to ensure a better future. this group includes innovators, academics, and venerable mental organizations, organizations, district groups and other experts and stakeholders. the world will double or triple its energy demands of the next 30 years. this is driven by a growing middle class in the developing world and the need to bring electricity to 1.4 billion people who lack it today. at the same time, many analysis point to the pressing need of reducing global carbon emissions by 80% or more by 2050 before
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going to avoid the worst impact of climate change. a more rapid expansion of nuclear powers in a central part of the solution. in the united states and elsewhere, dozens of innovative startup companies and other stakeholders are pioneering design that promised lower risk, should risk and deployment barriers. both in the u.s. and globally things have been slow. current nrc regulation confronts the licensee of advanced technology with two major challenges. first, and rc design certification or approval calls for enormous frontloaded investment during a protracted development and licensing face. without a structure to provide applicants with clear, early feedback on the schedule. second, current regulation primarily evolves oversee light water technologies. must be adapted to the features of advance reactors which rely on substantially different fuels, cooling a a safety system to require operating strategies.
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over the past two years, the nia has been developing strategies to facilitate the efficient, cost-effective and predictable licensing of advanced nuclear power plants in the united states. the strategies are based on consultations with innovators, experts, regulators and investors. key stakeholders of the nuclear industry. we compiled the results of our work into a report called enabling nuclear innovation, strategy for advance reactor licensing which was issued on april 12. the report has been provided to the committee and is available to the public on the nia website. it discusses in much greater detail the topics and touching on today. to address the odor viewer centric nature of the current regulation, and more technology inclusive approach is needed. a risk informed performance-based license approach will allow the nrc to review a diverse set of advance reactor technology. this advance reactor technology. this would incorporate both modern method of risk assessment and traditional approaches to
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provide an exhaustive safety review. s2795 provides for the undersea to do work in this area without impacting the cost incurred through the existing plant. to illustrate the investment challenge i would like to direct your challenge to figure one. this shows dramatically the risk investment profile of nuclear energy projects relative to the licensing process today. the large monetary hurdle of getting design approval. figure two illustrates a staged approach that provides interim feedback and opportunity for risk reduction. it aligns better with private sector development of innovative technology by using a licensing project plan, topical reports and other mechanisms. it can provide clear and early feedback to investors and developers. this approach maintains the rigor and high standards of the nrc and facilitates the development advanced nuclear technology that produces less waste or even consumes it.
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as 2795 authorizes the nrc to do the crucial work to develop and implement this estate licensing process with dedicated funding. this is important for two reasons. it helps the undersea developer rigorous it technology inclusive regulatory infrastructure to support the review of advanced nuclear energy technologies. significantly, it does this without diluting funds used to regulate operating. it also allows for immediate adjustments that will provide a more efficient, predictable and effective process. thank you for this opportunity to testify. s27952795 is needed to enable progress and advance nuclear energy. i'm happy to answer any questions today are in the future. >> thank you. our next witnesses maria corson and who is the chief operating officer. >> thank you very much. on behalf of the commercial nuclear energy industry, i want to thank the committee for considering 2795. introduction of this bill is particularly well-timed.
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nuclear energy makes a significant contribution to our clean air quality, the reliability of our electricity supply, international security. yet, regulatory and efficiency in costs are constraining and efficiency and costs are constraining our use of this valuable national resource. it is not addressed in the very near term, these issues will impede the appointment of even more innovative reactor technology here and around the world. despite the effort to reduce budget and right size the agency, fees continue to be excessive and limitations mandate 90% the rule creates fundamental structural problems. the undersea's budget continues budget continues to hover at approximately $1 billion per year despite significant
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declines in work lotus plants have shut down. in particular, according to ernst & young, the nrc spends 37% of its budget on support costs. that is more than 10% higher than some of its agencies. because the nrc must collect 90% of its budget from licensees and the nrc budget has not correspondingly declined. remaining licensees nrc budget has not correspondingly declined. remaining licensees are responsible for paying this higher annual fees. with several recent shutdowns and additional reactors decommissioning in the coming years a current fee structure virtually guarantees that remaining licensees will continue to bear even higher annual fees. the cost of licensing actions also continues to increase well beyond cost of living. for example, since, since 2000 the nrc review fees for a license renewal have been an eightfold increase in review cost. objectively, one would expect to decrease it based on efficiencies gained in the review process.
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this is particularly notable as we look ahead and want second license renewable for some of her plants. these illustrate a fundamental change change to the nrc recovery structure is in fact needed. s2795 repeals the 90% the recovery and replaces it with a much more rational approach. it requires the nrc to expressly identify annual expenditures anticipated for licensing and other activities requested by applicants. the legislation would also help drive greater efficiency in the nrc's operation. inter-, it would drive down annual fees by limiting corporate support percentages. although we do recommend that the be lower than the 20% level proposed by this legislation. complementing the limit a corporate support, the bill would annual fees for operating
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power reactors at the fiscal year 2015 level. we also recommend that it apply for that it applied for all licensees, so none reactor licensees as well. s2795 also affirms congress of you that this country can, and impact should, and in fact should be a leader in advance reactor technology. the bill effectively directs the nrc to think differently about reactor licensing. requires the nrc's regulatory regime accommodating large reactors as it does today, small light water reactors and advanced non-light water reactors. in short, and all of the above approach. the bills call for technology inclusive licensing framework, use of a risk informed performance-based licensing technique and a stage licensing process it will in fact it be a good, helpful step forward. developers will be able to demonstrate progress to investors in this first of a kind project, kind project, thus obtaining necessary capital resources at they achieve milestones. too often we hear from our
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members that regulatory uncertainty is the greatest impediment to new plant deployment in the united states. s2795 tackles topline issues now standing in the wave of innovation. in sum, we must be thoughtful and deliberate in a way that we plan for advanced reactor technology, we must also begin today if we are to meet the potentially enormous demand by 2030 for u.s. technology not only here but in the international market. senators in half, crapo, white house, and booker, on behalf of the industry i want to thank you very much for taking a strong leadership role, and ei supports the bill and we look forward to looking working with you and your staff as it progresses through congress. i hope it isn't acted expeditiously. thank you very thank you very much. >> thank you, next witnesses doctor edwin lyman was the senior scientist of global security program. welcome. >> thank you.
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my name is ed, i'm a senior scientist and on behalf of my organization i would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on this very important subject that is nuclear energy and innovation and the critical role of regulation to ensure safety and security. ucs is neither pro-or anti-nuclear power, we are in nuclear safety watchdog and we work to ensure that u.s. reactors are adequately safe both from accidents and secure from terrorist attacks. the position on nuclear powers not ideological but pragmatic. we believe nuclear power could have a role to play in helping to mitigate the threat of climate change. but this really can only happen if it safe and secure. that that means if the nuclear power is to grow then there must be a
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corresponding increase in safety and security, otherwise the risk to public health and the environment will increase. nuclear power could take itself out of the running if there is another event like the march march 2011 fukushima disaster. just over five years ago japan was a world leader in nuclear energy and have over 50 operating nuclear power plants. it's nuclear establishment was too complacent about the danger the reactors face. today only to those reactors are running, and a battle is raging in the courts to restart just to others. the u.s. needs to do everything it can to avoid repeating japan's mistakes. therefore congress must ensure the nrc continues to serve as a thoroughly and rigorously independent regulator both overseen existing plans and licensing new ones. we believe the most efficient cost-effective way to enhance
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reactor safety and security in the near term is through revolutionary improvements in design and strengthening oversight. we acknowledge new and novel technologies have the potential to achieve these goals in the longer term. experience has shown there is no quick or easy fixes to make nuclear power safe. although each nuclear new reactor type has advocates who claim their benefits, their preferred designs have the benefits for safety, proliferation existence or economic competitiveness, they really stand up to scrutiny. the reality is a lot messier. given the proliferation of the design and the massive investment needed to commercialize a single single one of those, both private and public investment of nuclear development should be focused on concepts that have the greatest chance of meeting goals for safety and security. in cutting to the-i'd identifying best prospects as a major challenge. for this reason we do need a thorough technical peer-reviewed process to be part of any government program that is going to provide support of
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nuclear projects whether it's national or private sector. now, i would like to focus my remarks on s2795. fundamentally we believe that nrc's regulations are not strong enough today to achieve the level of safety and security we need in a post fukushima era. so we do not agree that the licensing process or advance reactors are too stringent somehow need to be weekend to facilitate deployment. some argue that nrc's regulations are impeding u.s. competitiveness allowing other countries like china to get ahead of us. we think the opposite is true. the. the reputation of the nrc for being a gold standard as senator has pointed out is a good brand and so the undersea reputation for regular safety review only and enhances that brand. we do not think we should be engaged with china and other countries on a regulatory race to the bottom just to secure -- we
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believe the focus of the bill and nrc licensee is misplaced and will do little to facilitate the deployment of advance reactors in the us. licensing process may be a convenient target but we think the nrc is being scapegoated for more formidable institutional barriers. these. these include a lack of support for government-funded energy, the enormously high cost for commercializing any. >> reporter: reactor, and the lack of interest in making those investments and the failure of the so-called nuclear power entrepreneurs to put any significant money into the projects that they talk about. we we don't think the licensing process is a significant process factor. as as a result, we don't think the prescriptions in 2795 are the problem, the problem is the cost and difficulty of obtaining analyses and experimental data sufficient to satisfy the regulatory compliance ensuring that they can be operated safely. this is the fundamental issue that congress needs to address.
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so in summary, we think legislation is premature, we would offer that the national academy of sciences first review the systemic obstacles to licensing advance reactors including all the issues mentioned and whether the prescription changing undersea regulation would be efficient and effective in these goals. in conclusion, the future of nuclear power depends on and or sees credibility and regulator. we think. we think congress should reject any attempt to short-circuit the safety reviews and help ensure oversight licensing will result in safe and secure operations. thank you for your time. >> thank you. our next witnesses mr. victor mccree. the executive director of operations and nuclear regulatory commission. welcome. >> thank you and good morning. ranking members, chairman and
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members of the subcommittee i push it up or to need to testify this morning ip before you today representing the technical staff of the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission. to briefly discuss the undersea's current and planned activities to prepare to review an application for an advanced non-light water reactor design and to offer nrc staff on senate bill 279 five, the nuclear energy and modernization act. a number advanced, non- light water reactor design that employee innovative design feature are under development. they have the authority over commercial advance reactors and is ready to work with applicants and to prepare for and review applications for these reactors. however, the undersea is also considering the extent to which enhancements to the existing licensing framework could increase the efficiency, timeliness and, timeliness and predictability of our safety and environmental reviews.
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our objectives for the activities i'll discuss with you today is to strategically prepare for non- light water reactor applications. commensurate with the industry plans. however, our overall goal is again to create a more effective, efficient, clear and predictable licensing process that we advance safety use. with this in mind, and within available resources the undersea staff within available resources the undersea staff is pursuing a multipart strategy to prepare for our review of non-light water reactive technologies. the presidents of fiscal year 2017 budget request includes $5 million in not the recoverable activities to execute the strategy. if congress appropriates this fund it will be used to facilitate the undersea's preparations and to undertake efficient and effective safety reviews of advance reactor technology.
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we plan to pursue activities in three primary areas, licensee infrastructure, technical preparation, and stakeholder outreach. first, within license and infrastructure activities we'll optimize the regulatory framework and licensing process for advance reactor safety reviews. second, advance reactor safety reviews. second, our technical preparation activities will evaluate clarify and resolve critical, technical and policy issues that need to be addressed very patient reactor safety. finally, we'll expand upon our outreach activities to proactively engage key stakeholders to ensure all parties will be ready to proceed in the development and review of new reactor designs. a strategy insights that we have game for many years of with the department of energy, we believe this strategy will enable the resolution of novel policy issues and lead to the development of design criteria, precatory guidance, and industry
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standards from non-light water reactive designs. by enhancing efficiency and effectiveness of non-light water reactive reviews, the strategy water reactive reviews, the strategy will reduce uncertainty and business risk. that or sees advance reactor program is one of several addressed in senate bill 279 five. consistent with my role of the undersea executive director for operations my comments represent the undersea staff assessment of factual issues associated with the draft version of the bill. based on our preliminary review, the bill would require the nrc to undertake a number of activities related to developing plans, strategies and rulemaking's associated rulemaking's associated with licensing advance reactors and every resource reactors and report on those to congress. significant time and resources will be required over several years to implement the full range of additional activities described in the bill. particularly with regard to the rulemaking by the bill. another area covered by the bill's performance and reporting. these provisions. these provisions would require the nrc to develop performance
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metrics for any activity requested by a licensee or applicant and report to congress for certain delays. this would require to develop metrics and milestone for many activities beyond those for which they are currently prepared. we believe we currently have metrics for the desired outcome. these measures recognize the adapt for applicant or licensee and account for emergent safety or security issues, changes in licensing plans and so forth. as written the proposed requirement may limit nrc flexibility in this area. in closing, i welcomed the commission's interest in and ideas for enhancing the nrc performance and success of our mission. this concludes my formal remarks. i think you for the opportunity to appear before you and would be pleased to respond to your questions. >> thank you, final witnesses the honorable jeffrey s
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merrifield chairman u.s. nic, advance advance reactor task force, welcome. >> chairman, thank you very much, it's indeed a pleasure to be here for the committee in which i used to work as a council and one in which i testify in many occasions as an nrc commissioner. today i'm. today i'm appearing my role as chair of the u.s. nuclear counsel and advance reactor task force. my full-time occupation is attorney with pillsbury law firm. in addition to my full testimony i would ask that letters from seven advance reactor developers supporting this legislator be included in the record. my testimony will focus on how the undersea conducts its business as well as its use regarding advance reactor portion of the bill. we applied the overhead and caps within 2795 as well as the element supporting the development and deployment of advance reactor technology. on february 22 of this year, they issued a framework for advance reactor white paper
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which outline many of the advance reactor can provisions in the bill. while we will suggest a few additional areas for improvement not included in the legislation, we are committed to working with the committee and staff to properly move this legislation forward. when i first became a commissioner 1998, and the chairman of this committee, senator in in half lead the way to oversee the nrc. consistent with maintaining and protecting environment, the commission with full support of the committee work to right size the agency, consistent the level of activities with the nrc. at that time they had approximately 3400 employees and with the next few years we are able to reduce it down to about 2800. principally through attrition yet not with any sacrifice to the safety mission of the agency. today, the, the agency faces the same challenge.
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i understand and sympathize with the currents voiced by this committee regarding the size of the agency, the increase in licensing review time and the growth and overhead activities at the agency. this is inconsistent with the current number of nrc. while they they have made great strides in rightsizing the agency, i believe further reduction can be accomplished while at the same time effectively maintaining safety and inspection activities and improving the timeliness of licensing actions. i support the provision of s2495 which would limit the overhead of the nrc in place appropriate caps on the agency. as was the case when a before the committee over 15 years ago, i believe the amount of fees placed on individual licensees is not appropriate and should not cover inherently government functions and overhead. i believe the fee provision of s2795 appropriately balance the
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important nonlicensed the activities which should be bored by general revenues and those license should be borne by user fees. during the past decade the u.s. has maintained its technology leadership to progressive white water reactive design including passive generation three plus reactors currently being deployed in georgia and south carolina. as well as small module light water reactors now heading toward deployment. if the u.s. is to be successful in maintaining its lead in developing and employing a new fleet in the late 2020s or thirties, congress congress must consider significant new policy changes. in addition to funding infrastructure a new framework is needed to enable development and deployment of advance reactor technologies. currently the licensing process of the agency is perceived as one of the largest risk factors confronting private developers of advance reactors. if proposed changes will help
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address this gap. additionally, congress should provide additional resources to both nrc and do you week, as well as direct focused mobilize resources and expertise to enable the deployment of advance reactors. we believe section seven will allow the agency to create a modern, risk and form technology neutral framework to enable the development of appropriate advance reactor without passing costs onto existing utilities. advance reactor technical performance are also critically required to finalize advance generic design criteria as well as source term emergency plan with similar requests. we believe there are two areas where further enhancements are warranted. while the undersea is not a promoter of technology it is appropriate to engage in early enhanced dialogue with advanced reactor dialogue. currently the nrc has limited
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communication and when it doesn't must charge hourly fees, $260 per hour per nrc staff member who attends these meetings. as members of the advance reactor committee they lack the resources necessary to finance these activities. they support the bill regarding to the licensing cost share program. we believe this is an appropriate development. we would say we think it could be further enhanced by allowing for early-stage engagement with the engagement reactor community at no cost but perhaps a 5050/50 share. collectively we believe -- section 7b calls for the undersea to establish a reactor
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process we believe and generally consistent with our white paper that the bill should be strengthened by incorporating specific language requiring nrc to provide pre-licensed design review. the process requires the nrc to clearly and promptly articulate where advance reactor designs do into not need additional work. it would enable developers and investors to have a clear picture of where they stand in meeting requirements. finally, we support the elimination of the mandatory hearing requirement contained in section eight and would be pleased to discuss my views on this during the question and answer portion. we believe it's time to make appropriate reforms for the nrc overhead and process as well as modernize the program to spur innovation and enable advance reactor technologies to achieve their full process. we believe is 2795 make significant progress toward achieving that cold and we are committed to working with this committee toward prompt and successful passage. thank you for allowing me to testify today. >> thank you. thank you all all very much. i will begin the questioning
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with asking. a lot of what we heard and the testimonies really what's in the bill has to do with rightsizing the agency. in terms of license and support. in 2006, the nrc spent 208,000,000 dollars on corporate support spending which amounts to 28 percent, you can sit on the chart of the undersea's budgetary authority. this was nrc's budgetary authority. this was at a time of the nrc was regulating more reactors and materials, licensees with fewer people and resources. so i would say, do you recall any impairment of the nrc safety and security mission in 2006 as a result of result of this level of corporate support? >> ..
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more work and licenses in 2006, do you have any reason to believe this amount of corporate spending, 30 million less than what we expect could impair the nrc ability on safety and security. >> comparing nic now the -- nrc now ted 2006, there is additional work that we have now that we did not have
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been. overseeing the completion of oversight so the workload is different than 2006 and certainly her staff sizes different as well. >> are you saying that you think that 20%, that there could be some concerns over cd and security? >> that's not what i'm saying i'm simply saying we are comparing different agency nowa, in 2016 to 222,006 and as far as rightsizing we are rightsizing agency for the work that we have in the work that we anticipate in the future and that rightsizing includes rightsizinn our corporate support area where we have taken significant reductions, about $30 million in reductions this year and 2016 and additionally the commission to back a number of
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recommendations under the project that will result in additional reductions in 2017. several weeks ago the chief financial officer and i assigned a task for several of our larger corporate support offices to look at additional reductions that we plan to submit to the commission. as the chairman noted yesterday in the house hearing we are not done to the project rightsizing continues so i do believe the corporate support portion of our budget will continue to go down. >> ms. korsnick you spend a lot of your testimony addressing this issue. do you have a reaction to what the gentlemen that testify to my question? >> i think i'd rooted in my testimony. when we look at the peerage in i season for nuclear regulatory commission we would like even
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more quite frankly attention paid to those that appear to be affected at the corporate support level even less than 20%. i'd say the other thing we are very interested in in this fee structure is that the way the current bill is structured, it not only asks for the nrc to allocate for certain licensee requests but the money needs to be spent on that and i'm not alone. right now there's inability to move some money around if you will and in fact move it to corporate support. we would like a stronger fiscal responsibility on that. >> thank you. and dr. merrifield in your testimony mentioned before cost competitiveness safety and reducing a liberation risk as your four corners of developing an advanced reactor. what i think i'm hearing is the nrc would get in on the front and maybe raise red flags at the beginning of the licensing
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procedure rather than in the backend where the timelines are leaking and maybe incurring more expense. would it be more help old to receive more benchmarks is that a correct assumption? >> yes, although it is not at the point where directors not reforming well.ul there looked yet input early because the technologies are different and the way you evaluate the metrics to assess cost competitiveness and other s other -- but the reactors are different. to check different. to check at this point in the development you've had no internal conversations with the nrc on your dance reactor? with >> we have had one conversation because we are allowed one conversation before the hourlyse rates come up and in our development of the reactor because the weight structured now it's not well-suited for our particular technologies so when we look at where we were-s investing our research dollars versus the funds to try to get input from the nrc because we
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know it's a long path. there has been a history with many white papers without a clear decision.he there's an uncertainty that it's very difficult to manage at this early early-stage and that's why a small investment for nrc funds in the beginning with a very help old. thank you. wou >> senator carper.r. >> i would be happy to yield to others who may have urgent business to attend to and i'm here for the duration. is anybody net tight squeeze right now? if not who would be next? senator crapo. >> thank you very much senator carper and before you begin my questioning madam chairman i would like to ask unanimous consent, we have received at this .19 letters of support for this legislation and i asked
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that these letters of support be included in the record. >> those will be included record without objection. >> thank you very much printed like to direct my first question to you mr. mccree. as you know we have been working hard to understand the budget of the nrc and its inner workings. its inner i give relative consensus that the nrc budget process is very all paid. in addition to concerns about the fee structure and deeply concerned about lack of clarity on how the nrc budget as bars overhead functions will you commit to working with my staff and the staff of other members to provide timely and their responses to our questions about her overhead functions in your budget request? >> thank you senator, yes absolutely. >> i appreciate we need a commitment to providing detail about how the nrc allocates and spend its resources so we can understand how the budget works more effectively. i want to use the rest of myat d time to talk to the whole panel
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and i know that's going to be hard in four minutes but the point i want to get out is.or lyman raised two points but one of them was we should not aken the energy regulatory structure and we continue to be the gold standard. i don't view this legislation is weakening the regulatory structure in any way. i view it as increasing transparency and increasing efficiency and frankly maybe i will turn to you first mr. merrifield. what is your view of that issue? >> thank you very much senator. i disagree with mr. lyman in that regard. what we are really asking asking for anything but this legislation will accomplish is risk informing the regulatory activities of the nrc and tailoring does that give it these to be appropriate for the
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licensing of advanced reactor technologies. this will in no way reduce the level of safety and in fact arguably it will allow the agency to properly tailor resources to make sure that these are regulated in the right way and will also have a successful come push method doing it at lower cost which is important as well. >> earlier the agency involved in the development of technology and the understanding of that the more efficient and effective the regulation. see tonight that's exactly right and i think it would allow much better utilization of resources. a couple of things that of things that would say wereht quickly. one with the increase staff need to do is elevate as quickly as possible many of the generic policymaking decisions you've made to the commission and byy the commission to reduce the uncertainty for fans to reactor technology. secondly we talked a little bit about the fee process. it's very important to provide fee relief in the early stages
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of the program to allow active discussion between the developers and the nrc. as we discussed with the other witnesses there is a concern right now, there's there is a lack of engagement because once you start talking to the nrc in your initial meeting the feet, two and 68-dollar a minute, and our fee is going to start triggering and that's not good. we really should be encouraging active discussion between the ella -- developers a the nrc right now. >> i'm going to turn to dr. dr. finen him is because of your charts. the other issue that i have a son that was raised is the problem really isn't the regulatory system but the fact that we can get an investment at the early stages of the development of these new technologies. to me that seems to be exactly the point, that because of the regulatory structure or leased a big part of that issue is if you
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don't have the stage development or something like that that this bill contemplates that you have a situation in which it's veryry hard to get early investments in these expensive technologies. could you address that? >> thank you senator. that's early investment i think there are a lot of other challenges to the advanced reactors as there are for carbon capture and her other energy options but the investors in the investors and innovators of made it very clear that their most immediate and pressing concern is regulatory uncertainty. i don't think that we need to have another study. there've been a lot of studies on this night he happy to provide a list of what references to climate change is the private sector is engaged in the time to fix this is right now. >> thank you very much. my time has expired looks to me like i'm now cheering the committee. >> and i think you are doing a great job. >> i would turn to senator
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booker, do next. >> mr. chairman i want to thanko you for that of my staff and i were talking about how incredible your staff has been not just on the bill but reaching out to all these groups with the letters you have submitted his testimony to the inclusion you have been using this process and by the way ik . see your partisan because senator inhofe is back in the room. so now i know why he's so nice to you but moving on.. >> duly noted. >> ms. korsnick a testimony make the point that a reduction in the number of existing licensees decreases that the burden burden on their remaining licensees pretty think we all hope that we don't see this rash of additional premature closings within our fleet. i would be bad for the overall energy picture in the united states or that said if we did can explain how under current law that would impact directors that remain in whether this bill under cu would alleviate that scenario? >> gas in fact the current bill
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is structured to alleviate that very concern. as the current structure is in place with the obligation to collect 90% of the budget gets 90% of whoever's there to pay so if the plant closes down and is no longer part of that fee structure than the plants that are remaining in fact has to pay out at 90% bill and our experience has been based on the chart that you just saw in our experience with the nrc budget historically the budget has not reduced commensurate with thepe operating react there's shutting down. >> thank you very much. dr. finance besides the fact that you mentioned those two terrible words climate change i will forgive you for that. the reality is innovation and innovators another problem with your dissent from the faa to the patent office. we do a lot of strict innovation
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in this space is critically important. the gao last year did thisyo incredible report that looks at the challenges facing companies to deploy a new reactor concepts. in this report the gao noted the first of its kind technologies and the desire of costs for these folks can be exceptionally higher than for subsequentthe 1d projects. do you believe that this is a real problem as is noted in this report and you think the d.o.e. matching grant probe him in the bill can help solve the problem? >> thank you senator. i reacting that's a critical problem for there's really a need not only to make sure the costs are under control but also to make a more predictable so investors and innovators can plan accordingly. i think the d.o.e. matching program could certainly assists in that immensely. >> that's great and these are invaders that are really
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critical for dancing in terms of the safety involved in terms of being able to better deal with the challenges we have like current light water reactors as well as deal with the problems we have including proliferation of this material. is that correct? >> that's correct and i think it's very exciting because in the past nuclear was developed initially for the navy for submarines and then it was adapted to land land. today's innovators are putting a priority on our value today and those key values being safety of proliferation and costs about those other things that nuclear can provide. i provide. the data centers and invaders will bring that to the people. >> we need to create a government regulatory climate and not putting do cost burdens on them, correct? >> absolutely. >> can you expand in the time. i've left as to why the frameworks are really
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problematic for reactors and a little bit more specifically what is so problematic about the framework? >> as an analogy if we look atsp emission standards for vehicles those are performance-based so they set the they set maximum emission levels. if instead they were prescriptive and required particular had -- catalytic converter technologies tesla would have to seek exemptions to those technology requirements. for a nuclear reactor it's much more complex and has a lot moree ration. that's something that is a big area for new technologies because every time you to do that is an uncertain process.nos that creates a great problem for investors and innovators. >> i appreciate that in one thing i have left obviously senator crapo and it's beautiful how we are able to me to make this the bipartisan bill.
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senator whitehouse and i come with that concern about overalll climate change and there's massively expanding demand for energy globally, expanding rapidly as i said in my opening remarks and people like i have visions for solar ambitions for wind and visual -- visions for battery storage. there's no way that renewable pace will keep up with the demand we are having. right now 60% of our clean energy is being produced by nuclear so do believe this is a place where we have to expandod innovation if we are going tdo with the overall problem that senator whitehouse -- whitehouse and i see? >> absolutely and that's important because this is in just a political issue. it's not even just about climate change or just about energy security. this is a humanitarian issue. there are billion plus people in this or that don't have electricity we need to provide energy and have all the tools on
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the table and i has to include nuclear so i think this is critical work. >> thank you very much dr. merrifield experience. >> thank you very much senator. it looks like i still have a gavel. senator inhofe. >> i confess that you did a much better job of putting out something than i did but the interesting thing about this is those on your side who are driven, their whole lives are driven by climate change and those on this side who are realists. [laughter] we still agree on this bill. we know that this is going to serve everyone's best interest. and know that it will serve everyone's best interest. i'm not sure with all this coverage. we have nine members.
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somehow i've never been able to convince john mccain where it is leading to. >> they are going to want you to look at this. they the annual fee for operating reactors. based on the recent recovery role, the level is very near the all-time highest amount. that workload is now declining. we also provide for inflation adjustment. i do believe this amount is an appropriate ceiling to ensure the nrc is adequately resourced execute. safety and security mission.
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>> thank you, senator. in fact,fact, as you just described, fiscal year 2015 is a high watermark, quite frankly, for the agency and we feel it should not need to approach the ceiling as you describe some of that workload, in fact, is declining and we feel that a more efficient agency should, in fact, be able to operate with the corporate spending more in line with their peer agencies. >> whether or not you want to reach that, it is adequate. under the 2795, the amount of annual fees would collect with increase over decrease in reactors close. you believe that is an appropriate way to account for increases and decreases? >> yes, senator, we do.
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they work directly with workload. >> i would agree with that. when they decide to close nuclear reactors to they give adequate notice such that the nrc can account for the decrease in fees in their budget process? >> we believe so, senator. they need to go through a planning process. typically a 12 to 18 month timeframe that you are making these types of announcements. >> that's good. well, i think back when you 1st started, actually when i 1st chair of this committee you within the attorney on here. you're notyou're not a commissioning and at that time. >> owes a council on the committee. >> you might remember at that time this committee had had no oversight for four years. >> that's true. he did a very good job of correcting the problem. >> we got busy, set goals
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and priorities as to when we would be coming in and what we are supposed to be doing. >> new licensing. one of your recommendations was to eliminate the mandatory hearing. >> that is true. >> explain what that is all about? >> the mandatory hearing process dates back to the early days of the atomic energy commission, and when you look at the legislative history the reason was because the agency approved several reactors with no public involvement whatsoever, and the outcry caused congress to impose aa mandatory hearing requirement which was appropriate over the time. over the years, changes in the act and the wide number of opportunities for the
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public to be involved in many steps of the licensing process, in my view then as now is, that is an antiquated notion that is no longer necessary. if there are specific issues , they can be brought up in a contested proceeding that the commission can go over, but i believe it is not necessary and the requirement right now causes significant staff resources ultimately which could be borne by combination of the federal government and licensees to deal with the mandatory hearing. a significant reduction in fees, if that was eliminated >> one last question, my time has expired. >> describe the situation that was there. oversight is important. since that time we slipped a little bit back and need to become more forceful? >> overseeing the nrc. >> i welcome involvement.
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>> i know. >> and it was helpful have our feet held to the fire. the commissioners have the responsibility to oversee. i think further reductions of the staffing are appropriate, and the involvement of this committee is welcome. >> welcome. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> senator whitehouse. >> let me say how happy i am the chairman had a twinkle in his eye. let me 2nd to say that it is very much not our intention to short-circuit the safety review of any nuclear facility. the concern that i have is that the review process has become so light water reactor specific that
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another technology looking at getting through an obstacle course is facing hazards that have nothing to do with short-circuited or long circuited ms. but simply not being appropriate to technology in the same way that if you had to pass a test for how solid the canvas was on the wings of your opposed aircraft when you're actually proposing an aluminum winged aircraft were aware of the pilots gardens needed to be and what they needed to be made of when you are proposing a closed cockpit aircraft, it is an issue of relevancy, not shortcuts. what i would invite you and any other member of the panel who wishes to do is to put in writing some benchmarks for us that you think would indicate the departure from moving the regulatory process more toward relevance to new technologies and into simply
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short-circuiting safety. helpful and a more specific way. red flags rather than speaking generally. i worry that we have technology that effectively is smothered in the crib because they cannot figure out what the regulatory process is going to look like and therefore they cannot raise capitol or proceed, and there is a big x factor, big ?-question-mark around the process if you are not a traditional light water reactor. that is how i think of the problem, and i am interested in not only yours but everyone's response in writing, if you would care to do so.
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the last point i will make is that, i think it is a tragedy. a carbon constrained environment to have nuclear plants closing that are producing carbon free power for no other reason than that nobody has figured out how to pay them for what we all agree, almost all agree is the value of the carbon freeness of their power. we have an administration that has an office of management and budget, $42.50, but on social cost of carbon if somebody has a suggestion as to how we can figure out a way to pay the existing nuclear fleet $42.50 per equivalent avoided ton of carbon, i am down for that. we need to find the revenues i don't think it is a good thing to run up the deficit, but they're ought to be a way to provide that revenue
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stream to these facilities so that artificially driven economic decisions that are in fact wrong from both on environmental and economic perspective are not being driven across this industry by this market failure. so, my know that is a little bit beyond the scope of this particular bill, but i would encourage if any of you have ideas to please go ahead and offer them and i will offer the solicitation to my colleagues as well. again, thank you very much. >> senator, if i may, on the 1st point you made -- >> the one about the chairman? >> not that. >> actually, i would like the opportunity to respond. >> if i may finish my thought 1st. it relates to the 1st
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point. >> you will have the opportunity to respond. you will have the opportunity to give that in writing. i want a continuing conversation make sure we stay on the right track. >> i think you are entirely correct. thecorrect. the process needs to be tailored for advanced reactor technologies. as a country we have had a leadership role historically in the nuclear energy field. it is a different world today. there are a lot of opportunities for advanced reactor directors to work with regulators around the world. if we don't maintain our lead they may well decide there are other countries to which they are better suited. >> i heard the reports on the facilities that were designed in the united states and being constructed over there. >> i tell you what, senator fisher needs to go next.
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i don't know if anyone else wants a 2nd round, but i have one more question. >> and i do look forward to working with i'm trying to open a conversation that separates what i think is a good weight point that you have indicated. >> no, i appreciate that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. nebraska hosts two nuclear reactors, and this important legislation we are discussing today will provide our nuclear innovators the transparent framework that is necessary to launch this nuclear fleet into the future. it will enable our utilities to continue to provide affordable and reliable energy, so i am appreciative of the discussion we are having today and also that we are recognizing the outstanding job our nuclear
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reactor utilities perform every day. the legislation we are considering today creates an advanced nuclear energy cost share grant program that enables the department of energy to establish a grant program. i understand that there has been criticisms regarding share the cost of nrc licensing as picking winners and losers so in your experience do you believe it would be appropriate for the nrc to manage such a grant program review these four applicants are with the nrc consider that promotional and in conflict with its role as regulator? b senator thank you for the question. again i reiterate the commission question has not expressed its view, on that bill, that i would note the nrc would not manage the grant program but that the d.o.e.
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would and in that sense it's not too dissimilar from a grant that the d.o.e. made available for the combined operating license holders for the ap1000 in georgia and south carolina, and to that extent it has worked well and is has not impacted our fundamental safety and security nor independence principle which the chairman referred to earlier. >> so you would not be supportive of the nrc being involved in the grant program in any kind of proportional way and use to recognize the conflict there are? >> yes i do and although the commission has not weighed in on this it would appear i believe to represent a conflict and again i would feel confident that the commission would weigh in on that with a similar view. >> thank you. again, i would fee mrs. korsnick you stated in your testimony that the cost and
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duration of reviews for license renewal for new plants have dramatically increased rather than decreased as the nrc and they ministry gains experience with the processes. experience wit as 2795 directs the nrc to ensure funds are available to complete reviews that the industry needs and the bills also have provisions requiring performance metrics and reporting so do you believe the two-pronged approach will improve the efficiency and the timeliness of these reviews? >> yes senator we do and the fact again the nrc will budget specifically for licensing requests of the industry we think will provide the necessary focus and attention on those. we do think this bill will be helpful in that area. >> do believe it will also help lay the groundwork so we can have more predictable reviews in
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the future? >> i think so. the challenge is when we say performance metrics and reporting of course the devil is in the detail in terms of what performance metrics are developed but absolutely in concept i think having metrics and reporting is absolutely helpful in demonstrating the success quite frankly that the nrc is so successful. it's an opportunity to share that. >> as we look at developing those metrics how important is it that we have all theis stakeholders at the table on that? he said it's very important in the devil is in the can you give me an example may be where you would be representing a few that might not be available that other stakeholders would present? >> i think a stakeholder engagement would be very helpful in that way. as with any performance metric you get what you measure and so you can perform in a way that you say making the metrics look
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good but it's not satisfying if you will the greater good. the way to avoid that is to gets stakeholder engagement and review what the metrics would be to make sure all the stakeholders concerned would be reflected a for prep really the metric. >> thank you and during your services commissioner you help they mrc -- nrc to undertake several activities to develop a regulatory framework and prepared to review the application. as the scope of the sport, do you think it's too ambitious or do you think it's feasible? >> i think it's absolutely feasible. i give credit to the nrc staff. i think they will throw themselves into making this work.i think and mr. mccree is a talented individual.y can come up with a i think the process isme
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predictable and transparent anda done in such a way to allow technologies to move forward. one point on the earlier issue i would like to mention having been on the commission -- commissioner think the oversight that this committee provides on the timing of various activities of the license renewals, news, license application those are important metrics to take a look at.i left the that is productivity that needs attention. >> thank you, thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you chairman fischer. mr. marquis. >> mr. mccree sequestration in the early closure of a number of nuclear plants have arguede already put the nrc in a declining budget environment. at the same time the revelation that isis recorded video of the
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belgian nuclear official underscores the need for additional resources for security and safety at u.s. nuclear power plants.ea it's at the top of the terrorist list for isis. list price instead the bill under consideration in this committee would constrain the inner seas resources by imposing link it on fees for operating reactor licensees. licensees. do you agree there's a possibility that such a could reduce resources and support for nrc staff working to protectrots reactors against insider threats or physical attacks wax bks senator thank you for your question. i would reiterate the commission has not weighed in on the proposed bill including the caps that are described in the bill. if they would become law of course they would simply apply apply.
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>> fewer resources are not good for the agency in protecting against a potential terrorist attack. is that true?? >> quite frankly senator we are applying the budgetary and doing are due diligence to ensure that our resources are properly allocated. pulling it >> now you are pulling away from other nuclear safety issues when both are very real in our in our country. country so i just think we have to be realistic in the belgian warning that they were looking at a nuclear power plant that they were trying to attack it is clearly something that we have to take into account here in the united we we are talking about the nuclear regulatory commission's budget we might want to do a favor for utilities and reduce their fees but where's the money going to come from in order to produce the level of safety which we are going to need our country lacks nuclear energy provides just short of 20% of electrical generation in the
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united states. there are currently 99 reactors producing electricity in our country. at least three are closing very soon fitzpatrick oyster creek and pilgrim. according to the department of energy data for nuclear energy to stay up 20% of total energyf generation by 2025 we need to bring 13 large reactors on line in the next nine years. we are currently building for and one more watts part two is scheduled to produce electric electricity this year. that leaves us at least eight reactors shored up with the goao is. do any of you disagree that there is little or no possibility that eight additional new reactors that we have not even begun to build will come on line by 2025 and would you disagree with that but there will be eight new plants operating between now and 2025?
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do any of you disagree with that? th no senator. >> at the record reflect that no one disagrees with that and remember eight new nuclear reactors are what we need to maintain the nuclear sheriff electric generation or country. we would need to to replace more of that to replace fossil fuel generation as coal plants go off-line so we need more electrode -- electrical capacity. the two reactors underty construction under vocal havecos experience years long delays billions in cost overruns and it took 43 years to completeto com construction of watts part two. do any of you disagree thatgreeh problems that caused scheduled overruns that focal would need to be solved before any significant number of new reactors could be built in the next 10, 15 or 20 years? do any of you disagree withye that? f you disagree with that?
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let the record record that no one disagrees. in recent years the price of renewable energy sources has declined considerably. here is the big number. since 2010 the price of solar panels has declined by 80%. we are talking five years, 80%. by contrast the cost of constructing nuclear plants has remained stubbornly high. in light of these facts it simply is not realistic to expect nuclear power will continue to provide the majority of emissions free electricity in the united states let alone be part of a solution for climate change. in 2005 in the united states there were 79 total megawatts sold. this year its 16,000 new megawatts of solar in one year so you can see where the trend lines are. increased solar deployment at the price of vote declining radically and total cost where
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stubborn regulatory issues in terms of safety and design still plague the nuclear industry. this bill would scrap the requirements that the nuclear regulatory commission holds a mandatory hearing on each application for a construction permit while operating a license. instead such hearings would only occur if they are requested by a person whose interests might be objective. is there any evidence at mandatory hearings would recover weaknesses in the nrc staff of valuations of construction permits while operating license applications that otherwise would never have come into the public view? >> senator markey thank you for the question. in our view the mandatory hearing does establish a unique and important role in filling a gap in the event a contested hearing does not occur any benefit contested hearing does occur the mandatory hearing
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examines other issues including the adequacy of the nrc staff's review and a colleague of mine has compiled a number of instances where a mandatory hearing have covered -- uncover significant -- and i would offer that list for your inspection. we believe the mandatory hearing process is important is also important for transparency. we need to maintain transparency in the nrc review process and the fact of the public is nice of the resources to be able to contest a hearing, even if there are important safety issues that need adjudication soap for those reasons we think a mandatory hearing should be preserved. >> i agree with you. there are mandatory hearings if you want to build a new house next to someone else's house. they are building a nuclear power plant and mandatory hearings for construction permit
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would no longer be mandatory? i mean that just makes no sense whatsoever. that's an inherently dangerous to elegy that needs all kinds of tough questions to be asked about it. understand the wish list of industry. no more public input and no more questions asked like -- by concerned scientists questioning the underlying premise of building power plants with i don't think the public is going to be happy there are told no hearings on this dangerous technology. again it still needs insurance protection from the federal government. the private sector still is it willing to provide the insurance they need the government to intervene to provide that insurance coverage. >> thank you. senator carper. >> if i were the chairman you never would have gotten those extra three minutes and six seconds. it's safe to assume that senator
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markey is going to co-sponsor this legislation he one of our colleagues who is not here today ted kennedy used to lead the committee on health education labor and pensions for a number of years the very conservative republican and somehow or other they managed to get a huge amount done. i used to say to mike nc how can you bridge the divide and yours talked about the 80/20 rule. he said ted and i agree on 80% disagree on 20% in what we decide to do is focus on the 80% on which we agree. >> i cosponsored legislation that i used to do this on emissions reduction. we decided to focus on what we agree on and what i want to do
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is ask this panel in the spirit of the 80/20 rule to just -- we'll we will start with you dr. baca. where's the 80% for you folks are great or even 70% or even 60 what are some important issues and take no more than one minute. i'm asking you where are the points of consensus on this panel? where do you think you guys a are great? >> i believe we agree that early interaction with the nrc is help old for new technologies for reactors. we believe the states approach is also very helpful and we have some kind of cost share to change the burden of having to design certification or licensing application. >> all right thank you. dr. finding. >> thank you senator. i think there's an important
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area where we all agree and senator markey laid out some of the challenges faced by nuclear. this is an industry that desperately needs innovation to address those challenges and solar and wind have done really well and benefited from a great eel of innovation. nuclear energy is ready. there are innovators and investors were pretty to take on that innovation challenge and i think we willing to have the more efficient transparent framework to enable that work to address those challenges that senator markey outlined. >> thank you. >> i think we all agree that nuclear power is very important and very necessary for a baseload carbon free future for how we generate electricity. i think we also agree that we need a strong effective regulator. i think the industry feels pleased earlier determined gold standard and we don't want the nrc to be a week in regulator. i don't think that's helpful for the industry but we do feel that we can have an efficient and
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strong regulator and a regulator that's more transparent from across the perspective. >> all right thank you. where's the consensus? >> i would hope the consensus is that there needs to be a structured process to ensure that nrc safety reviews on new reactors are not spent, those resources are actually used to end up with a product that generates electricity and are just academic exercises so that's one concern we have with this bill i also would point out that we don't agree that the stage process is outlined in bill would necessarily be helpful. >> dr. lyman ... looking at blitzer agreement.
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>> commander mccree. navy commander. commander? >> commander yes sir paid. >> that's my favorite rank. >> let me first agree with my fellow panel member on nrc remaining a strong credible regulator is essential and we are committed to our principle of good regulation and are making strides to become more efficient in this important area. again the most important thing we do is ensure the safety and security of operating nuclear power plants and materials license holders but within that of the multipart strategy at believe that's the perfect alignment. nrc needs to approve its infrastructure to make the reviews perspective reviews of light water reactors more efficient and clear and predictable and we are committed to build a framework to have it in place by 2019, so if and/or
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when an application is submitted for light water reactors if we could conduct those reviews in a timely efficient and effective manner and we are proud to do that including stage reviews, conduct a additional outreach with folks at this table as well as other stakeholders both semantically and internationally to make sure we are ready. >> thanks very much commander. mr. merrifield. >> i think there's a consensus that we can build safer nuclear reactors. going forward i did want to mention they're all small modular reactors in the pipeline better contemplated to be built by 2023. the country we have to keep building more nuclear reactors by 2025.
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we can't have the building of new reactors that replicate and learn from experiences and i would make a comment, obviously we need to make sure the nrc has the resources necessary to protect public health safety and security. ultimately nuclear power plants have to defend against potential isis threats. i would say from my view is a former commissioner those are safest industrial facilities in the united states security standpoint and a would be able to protect for that particular adversary. >> maybe you can give me some more time. senator markey i didn't take my earlier time so i'm catching up. >> do you you have anymore questions? >> if i may would just be a comment mr. chairman. dr. lyman if i iowa -- if i may.
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you read granting safe the -- could lead to a net reduction in overall safety? >> yes, just to elaborate on that concern, the industry is pressing for generic decisions to be made on certain policy issues including the size of emergency planning zones for fans reactors and modular reactors, the level of security that is needed, whether or not the containment needs to be robust against large pressure increases and whether the number of operators needed to staff a nuclear reactor complex should be reduced. they want these decisions to be made haste on the assertion that advanced reactors are so much safer than current were actors


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