Hearing Focuses on Nuclear Power in Trump Administration CSPAN November 21, 2016 11:04am-12:41pm EST
that this justice department civil rights division has been busier than it has been in any administration prior baby except for johnson. it has been busy. the laws that congress passes constraint is to reach him very, very real ways. i'll give you an 11 way to pass the non. hopefully we can talk more. trey by martin in the last panel -- you know, it was the correct decision for the department of justice not to intervene in that train to march and because the law is in a way that makes it nearly impossible for them to intervene in that way. they have to show at the time that the mermaid to the death blow. he was motivated solely by
racial animus. >> civil rights activists, scholars and political operatives discuss president obama's legacy on the issues of civil rights and race. tonight at 9:00 eastern here on c-span2. now a senate appropriations subcommittee hearing on the future of nuclear power and the need to find solutions to nuclear waste disposal. this is just over 90 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> the subcommittee on energy and water will come to order. this afternoon will have the second of two of her site here is to discuss the future of nuclear power in the united states. in our previous hearing in september we discuss what action should be taken to maintain
today's nuclear power plants and to ensure our country continues to invest in nuclear power. today we'll discuss the recent task force report on the future of nuclear power from the secretary of energy advisory board. we will also discuss basic energy research and development to support nuclear power and work being done to safely expand reactor licenses from 60 to 80 years where appropriate and the development of new nuclear technology is including advanced risk of a small modular reactors, accident tolerance fuels. senator find that each will have an opening statement and i will recognize each senator for up to five minutes for an opening statement. and we'll go from there. we will then turn to the witnesses for their testimony. the first panel will be dr. john deutch, charity energy advisory board and professor at m.i.t. he's a director of cia deputy director of defense and the
department of energy. second panel clues dr. alan icenhour, dr. mckinzie. dr. icenhour for nuclear science at oak ridge national laboratory. dr. mckinzie, director of the nuclear program that the resources defense council. after that, we will have some questions. i would like to make a brief opening statement. today's hearing is our second oversight hearing to discuss steps we can take to ensure that carbon free nuclear power has a strong future in our country. our first year and we heard from secretary boney is about the challenges we heard about research, a lot of done international repertory's included in oak ridge. we heard senator white -- white house itself as the climate change made no sense to close carbon free react or is at the
same time we're trying to deal with climate change. we also heard from senator judd gregg, ceo of the clear path foundation who gave us much of the same message and talked about the amount of innovation 40 to 50 companies are working on advanced reactor concepts that would lower costs, decreased safety, make better feel management in today's reactors. i believe for nuclear power can be bright but we need to prepare now by building more react to us, by ending the stalemate on what to do about nuclear waste. senator feinstein and i are united on that. stop in washington from picking winners and losers in the marketplace, which some times this incentivizes the use of nuclear power. pushing back on excessive regulation, more free-market innovation with government-sponsored research. the witnesses today will discuss the attacks reported mentioned,
r&d and steps we can take to maintain the fleet. we received a report in october from the secretary's energy advisory board, examine the challenges the nuclear industry is facing as well as steps necessary to develop new technologies and emphasize and ensure dr. deutch will talk about the five factors, limiting investment in nuclear power in our country. first is nuclear power doesn't get enough credit for being carbon free. second, new nuclear technologies are complex comics and have been heavily regulated. third, we haven't solved the nuclear waste still made going on more than 25 years. market conditions and unanticipated events such as an accident. at a time when leading science academies of 20 developed countries to many americans say
climate change is a threat, that humans are a significant cause of that threat, nuclear power produces 60% of the country's carbon free electricity and power plants produce for the 40% of the carbon produced in our country. speaking for myself, in my hometown of maryville, tennessee , i had 20 fire marshals from her all around and tell me my house might burn down and to buy fire insurance. my recommendation is we should get insurance in this country against climate change. the best insurance near term is nuclear power. it makes no sense to close reactors at a time when people believed that a change is a problem. we need to invest in the next generation of react to us. they need to work with the regulatory commission to move forward with a small modular reactor. our bill, the appropriations bill includes 95 million for that work. task force recommends we task force recommends we take an advanced nuclear reactor program
to support the design development licensing and construction of a first of a kind commercial scale reactor. i'm looking forward to hearing more about that. dr. icenhour is here on behalf of the oak ridge laboratory leads a consortium for advanced simulation of white water reactors. looking forward to his discussion of that. secretary moniz said by the end of the year the department would begin to process moving forward with interim storage facilities for nuclear waste, solving something senator feinstein and i congratulated him for and have encouraged. they have taken the initial step on private interim nuclear waste storage sites. we need to move on all tracks at the same time to solve the nuclear waste still make and i appreciate the secretary's
attention. senator -- secretary moniz took that important stat. congress should take the next step to pass the bipartisan nuclear waste administration not introduced last year by senator feinstein and cal ski and can't well and can't while an eye. congress should pass the pilot program that would allow the secretary to take title ii use nuclear fuel. but the pilot program funding for interim storage or included in mr. senate and energy water appropriations bill. senator feinstein and i have recommended in the committee approved. we need to maintain our existing nuclear fleet. we need to extend from 60 to 80 years where appropriate and safe to do so. when he to relieve the burdens of necessary regulation to use our super computing resources. since they're here in another react your shot down the nuclear generation shut down on october
october 24th when we last another 484-megawatt. in conclusion, i would say this. imagine when the united states is without nuclear power. that's the day i don't want to see in our country's future. seems distant and unlikely, but it's a real threat. by 2038, 20 years from now, 50 react or is will have reached 60 years of operation representing 42% of the nuclear generating capacity in the united states. so our country could lose about half are reactors existing licenses can't be extended from 60 to 80 years in those reactors closed. the new reactors being built, there is a reactors three in the northeast which were scheduled to shut down by 2025. the energy information administration with these a react there is plus the recent closing of fort calhoun will
result in a 3% increase in total carbon emissions from the u.s. electricity. we need to take steps today to ensure nuclear power has a feature in our country. for that back to recognize senator feinstein, are committees distinguished ranking member for her opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i think you know there is no one i respect more in the senate from either party then you have one of my great pleasures has been to work with you and most things we agree -- we do not agree a nuclear power as you know. and so, as a history major in my opening remarks to cite some facts about the nuclear experience. i think examining the potential risks and opportunities of advanced reactors is important. they are in competition with federal research on name, with
other clean energy sources and the 4400-megawatt of california's nuclear power, which is in the process of being shut down will be replaced with clean energy and california is going to aim to make 50% of its power all clean power before too long. now some may claim the future is bright for this technology. i suggest otherwise. as advanced nuclear reactors are those that achieve higher efficiencies and electricity production is the use of graphite, salt and medals coolant and moderators. in 1856, the united states navy admiral, the father of our nuclear navy set of advanced reactors are expensive to build
complex to operate, susceptible to prolonged shut down as a result of the event minor malfunction and difficult and time-consuming to repair, end quote. strangely enough his words have been prophetic. in 1965, the sodium cooled fast your went online in southeast michigan. 10 months later he suffered a partial meltdown when they coolant in the u.k. blocked in the core overheated. it operated briefly from 1972 late 1972 when it was shut down due to cost issues. the plants took nine years to build and operate it for only three years. then in the 1970s, the united states spent over a billion dollars on the clinch river breeder reactor project in
eastern tennessee. costs were initially estimated at 400 million, but by 1983 the gao said the project would cost a billion, something that we go through with uranium processing now. congress abandoned the project before construction was completed. president carter, a nuclear engineer said the clinch river breeder areas a technological dinosaur. it's an assault on our attempts to control the spread of dangerous nuclear materials. in march is our policy in exactly the wrong direction, end quote. these are fundamentally the same reactor designs we tell discussing today. more recently, the fast breeder reactor in japan operated only a few months in 1994 to may 1995
before a coolant leak caused a fire. then it operated again for three months in 2010 before another accident during a refueling. after spending $12 billion building, briefly operating and repair in the facility, the japanese government decided last month to abandon the project once and for all. the recent history of the united state is not much better. the energy policy act of 2005 authorized d.o.e. to work with industry to develop a next-generation nuclear plant. the plant was intended to process heat and hydrogen for use in industrial applications. the program of the big con shared research and development activities with industry that would eventually lead to a demonstration facility.
by 2012, this committee had invested 550 million in the next generation nuclear plant and was ready to move into phase two by inviting industry participation. but not a single company could be found to put up the magar $40 million cost share that was needed. dio we ended the program 2013 because the government could not justify spending millions to develop it against reactor designs that have no real support from the industry. even if advanced reactors overcome their history of discipline that, this congress has not yet grappled with the need to find a workable solution to nuclear waste despite the best efforts of this committee. the bottom line fact is that the existing fleet of reactors have
generated 77,000 matcher turns. the staggering amount growing by an average of 22 tons per year. even if simon vance reactor designs someday run more efficiently for it even consumed more spent fuel, nuclear power is impossible if we don't have a solution for dealing with existent place. the nation faces real challenges in addressing climate change with grid reliability, increased energy efficiency and generation services. in each of these areas the committee funds complex and necessary programs for research. i don't see how we can afford to
divert several more billion dollars for these programs in order to explore speculative technologies that the industry itself has shied away from. i think nuclear power must overcome its own significant shortcomings. one astronomical upfront cost and to waste that is toxic for thousands of years if nuclear is to be a significant solution to our climate challenges. before this committee decides to devote significant new resources to the development of advanced nuclear tears, i believe we need to see three things. one, a solution to nuclear waste , long-term indictment. two, an indication that these reactor designs could overcome their history of technical shortcomings. and three, an industry willing
to make a financial commitment on its own. i know that is a tall order so i very much look forward to our witnesses today. i've known john deutch for a long time and i look forward to listening to his testimony and the others. >> thank you, senator feinstein. senator tester. >> i'll be brief. thank you for having this hearing. this is a good discussion to have and talk about the challenges. i appreciate you coming mr. chairman, bringing up climate change because it's occurring whether we want to deny it or not it's happening. i've been on the farm since 1978 in things are happening but never ever have been before. some of them are good. a lot of them are so good. just for full disclosure and i've been a farmer my whole life. i lost more investment on the electrical energy company that had a nuclear power plant than i
ever lost in anything else in life. that aside, i don't have issues with the power. i think there's positive things about the environment from the co2 standpoint and i think senator feinstein brought up some points on reactor design. the waste is the problem. they've got to figure out how you can repurpose it and get it done if were going to do this. we may be changing co2 nuclear waste and i don't think we want to do that. if we are going to have something that our kids and grandkids and generations now can deal with, it's got a work. i appreciate the hearing. it's a good discussion and i don't think anybody on this committee and i certainly have the utmost respect for you, mr. chairman, wants to do something our kids are going to have to pay for forever. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator tester.
senator udall. >> thank you, senator udall. dr. deutch, usually we ask witnesses to take five minutes because that gives more time for questions, but you're the only witness on the first panel and you've worked long and hard on a task force report posted got a lot of experience. if you need more time than not, why don't you take it? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, senator feinstein, senator udall. i am very pleased to be here. i was chair of the secretary of energy task force. >> speak directly into the mic. >> is that better? if it's not, poke me again and i'll do better. i am here to report to you on this task force that i chaired and i want to make clear what our task was. the secretary asked the task
force to describe an initiative that had the potential of giving the country the option the ability to have between 5,010,000 gigawatts of electricity built annually. in that time. 2030-2050. many other questions about nuclear power and wealth of the country have to do to restore the local when i joined the department of energy in 1976. that was the task. the summary report charged in the public domain they've been supplied to committee staff. i'm just going to focus on the main views and the message of our task force and then say a few words. so here are the main takeaways.
if the country is going to have a nuclear option, it must undertake an initiative of the scope and size that this committee described. doesn't have to be exactly the same. but if you do not undertake a major initiative now, it is inevitable in 2030 the country will not have a nuclear option. secondly, any such initiative is going to require time, considerable federal resources for the redesign of electricity market in sustaining the skilled management. third, there is no shortcoming. there's not going to be a magic technology provided at low cost quickly can get you safe and reliable nuclear power. those are the take awayessage. i want to now speak to the five or six central findings
recommendations of the task force. first, as you know, the nuclear fleet is aging and there have been a number of early retirements. the early retirements are doing many respects to the rules governing electricity rate and dispatch that differ in different parts of the country which makes it challenging to have value-based nuclear. the structure rates at wholesale markets, preferential dispatch rules for renewable generation, exclusion and the clear power for renewable portfolio standards and raise that are inadequate to assure investment. the task force made several market structure but for existing plants this has to be done on a state-by-state basis in different states are approaching it in different ways. new york came to be suitable for
that state. i believe that illinois is centered detailed discussions at the present time but that disparity in market structure has to be addressed at the state level and it's not going to be changed easily. the outlook of the construction of nuclear plants in the united states and other oecd countries is bleak primarily because it died overnight capital cost of nuclear power roughly $5000 compared to natural gas $1000 or less. which makes the level last cost of nuclear power for the foreseeable future higher than the closest competitor, which was low natural gas prices, the level last cost of electricity or natural gas. the cost disparity would be greatly diminished if the carbon
free nuclear power or recognized in two ways by the assessment of the carbon emission charge based on the social cost of carbon on fossil fuels generating or alternatively on a production payment to new nuclear plants not existing their carbon free character. that is in the order of 2.7 cents and that is their carbon free equipment value. you will note that when of photovoltaics have that same carbon character and indeed do have an ongoing production tax credit a contribution for the taxpayers of this country roughly comparable to the 2.7. that would be a rule i would apply to all carbon free electricity generation.
the task force actually recommends to power. it is not only about advanced nuclear reactors. first is the light water reactor technology which will be two new discussion of lower-cost which have other advantages such as small modular church. the first aspect of the recommendation is pursue light water reactor technologies which no longer have an unproven technology but which have the practical questions of cost, licensing, waste management. ..
>> some kind of commercial plant. the task force estimates the time, because of that there seeing $11.6 billion, taking about 25 years. the important aspect of that judgment was based on definitely looking at a stage by stage development program and the concept all the way to construction of the first plant. there are many people who believe that indeed, it was mentioned mister chairman
there are 20 or 30 venture capitalist based funds exploiting that technology. it would be optimistic in a much smaller time according to this development process. we don't believe that's so. one way of deciding is to compare development with forces proposed with a template for development. in any event, the point i want to leave with the committee is that our judgment, roughly speaking this is a $6.5 billion program for the period from selecting a plant all the way to the point where you start spending money. talking about financing of that, we believe it will be a well-run program, roughly
half decided by the federal government, mostly in the early stages where there are technology efforts to reduce technology.the latter half supported by private sector investors to see the practicality of these new reactor types. let me next turn to fuel cycle and waste management. i would say to you that when i was with the department of energy, the department confirmed for his decision not to do commercial reprocessing. the department continually proposed no additional funding but there was a great effort to maintain light water reactor technology and the base technology for next generation plant. there's no question about it. advanced reactors will have different fuel cycles and
therefore require different approaches for both licensing and for waste management. this is a part from moving to the challenge of a new generation of reactors. now, we recommend for the management of this program that we propose, 25 year, $11.9 million and $6billion program , a clause i public corporation created by the congress with a one time appropriation for that long. of the task going through several different administrations . if we can pay attention and responsibly execute this program. i know that the blue ribbon tax force would both support as i understand it,
recommends exactly the same, creation of a quasi-public corporation to carry out the waste management. there may be a possibility for having a single committee staff as suggested.quasi- public corporations handling both the management and the new reactor development. the nrc today only has six licensing light water reactor plants. if you want to proceed to an advanced reactor, nrc must develop the capability for licensing require more time and more resources to do that job. we believe and in our report we discussed 2x chairs of the nuclear regulatory commission a staged approach for licensing and advanced reactor.
some developers, they choose to license new advanced reactors and other countries within china. i reminded both developers that are here that the first time one of those plans come back to the united states , it left the entire nrc process again. we will always have oversight . a final point mister chairman has to do with international leakage. for a long time , counter proliferation policies of the united states where we've been a world leader was based on the influence we had to our knowledge and our activities for nuclear power and technology. the plants which are going to be built around the world, are not going to be in europe, not going to be in
the united states, they will mainly be in china, india, russia and in several countries in asia which has to be the first plant, everest, turkey. we want to make sure proliferation resistance of those plans maintains. we have national security in maintaining our international activities, especially in safety. in the future of nuclear power. i want to make a concluding remark. the task force was completely unanimous in this report, we had a wide range of people contributing, it unanimous. especially about the point that if the united states does not, the nuclear option
is not going to. [inaudible] >> that leaves open the broader question, if the country needs it, is it a practical thing we can do given the engagement of information all the time. there were widely ranging different views on that. so it's not the case that everybody on our task force believes the country must do exactly this but we all agree that if you don't do something, there's no possibility of nuclear power. what is the consequence of not having that next generation? it will all be done through a renewable source, if we view on that to and heavily, this committee knows, this is how we develop but let me say it again, we give you a program to consider. in scale and time of balance,
in the scale of both time and dollars, one way of getting substantially cheaper, not zero cost nuclear power, we raise a warning that if you don't do something like this, the country does not have another option, thank you very much mister chairman. >> thanks to you and your committee for your leadership. we will have a round of five-minute questions and i will begin. to reiterate, today we have 99 reactors, about that . we produce about 20 percent of all of our electricity, about 50 percent of our carbon free electricity. i know in the region where i come from, tennessee valley authority expects to have 40
percent of its electricity from nuclear power within a few years. and when combined that with the control on: and new test plans, it's going to be a very clean, lower-cost mix of power. you are saying though that your committee unanimously agrees that if we don't take some action like the one the committee recommended , by 2030, as a country we won't have the option of having electricity produced by nuclear power, is that what you are saying? >> precisely. what we say to the department of energy, 57 nuclear plants will be fielded every year. we had four us manufacturers of reactors,, russian engineering, ge and westinghouse. for competing us firms.
that kind of capability is not going to be there in 2030 for sure. no do plants will be built in the united states unless they have a very favorable regulatory act of findings about managing the project impact, the market problems that i mentioned to you. >> so we would lose 20 percent of our base load capacity of our electricity which is base load capacity in this case and about 60 percent of our cbon free. what is likely to replace that if that were not there? >> natural gas. let me point out to you, how many, 50 or so plans, you are going to reach years of age. >> by 2038. >> i personally do not think it likely that the companies that manage those plants or the nrc are likely to relicense the plants in 80
years, they will be the oldest plants we have which would require quite a lot of additional expenditure without any attention to whether their structure is cheaper but they actually don't have their electricity expanded for one reason or other . they are not going to be there. >> to reiterate again, you gave us the recommendation and said unless you do something like a 25 year $11.6 billion program. to create advanced reactors. we won't have any option. if we did something like that, we were more likely to have the nuclear option. >> let me pull back a step further in the first five years they are proposing part one . meanwhile you have these water reactors coming up. they may fit the bill.
they're going to need some help and there is no certainty that will be there but there may be somebody who comes forward with a light water reactor proposal for advanced reactors. we are not married to any particular technology. we want to see how best that technology develops. >> you said one of the difficulties, you mentioned five difficulties as the report one of the difficulties is that nuclear power doesn't get credit for being carbon free at a time when many people think carbon free electricity is important and if i heard you write, you say that in order to get credit, that would be equal to the credit given to wind power for example, it would be 2.7 cents per kilowatt hour. >> roughly. which wind and solar, and of course as you know there'sthe penetration of wind and solar increases , there's an intermittency cost that has to be carried by somebody on the grid. one way or the other. that's not included.
>> so at themoment, taxpayers give wind , for example a 2.7 cents advantage over nuclear power, both of them are equally carbon free. >> yes and i hope that i wouldn't be misunderstood to say i think we should take that away from wind . >> no, i understand you. >> my point, i want to underscore this, carbon free will electricity is important to the united states and the world and nuclear is an essential piece of that here and elsewhere. >> senator feinstein. >> it's interesting to me because i look at this so differently. i look at it from the california perspective. i've been to southern california three times and seen the reactors. they have a problem with the steam generator, they buy two of the japanese company. they are faulty. they end up having to shut down the plant, they got 3300
rods in the fuel bowls. no place to put them. they have a big security force. they got a plant on a shelf above the pacific with 6 million people moving around. then i get a call from pg and e that they are going to shut down most of their reactors. because they believe they can now find cost-effective clean energy to replace their 1100 megawatts. so i have all this spent fuel sitting in metropolitan areas and an earthquake prone state when the rim of fire is going around the pacific with big. >>, yes .
7.8. i don't understand the push for this and the absence of a push to safely secure the weight. and we have tried and he has enormous patience with me and so we have tried year after year to get a pilot waste, and we know there are people that want to build it. where some of this waste, even if you went ahead, you'll go would be built area and we have 77,000 metric tons of hot waste all over the country. me, until you've got a methodogy to properly harbor this waste for the millennium, it's ridiculous to talk about any of this
because something is going to happen. one day and it's probably on the pacific coast, some kind of fukushima is going to happen. and all the probabilities that the big quake will drop area and so i sit here and i listen to this and it's like i'm in a fairy tale. that when i see in my state were four of the biggest reactors shut down. waste piling up, it makes no sense to me. and i don't understand how the industry doesn't help us push for waste facilities and they don't. >> first of all, i want to remind you these are very sensible questions to raise about our task as you describe it.
you may say it's waste alone but i want to make some remarks. this congress commission a group of people under the chairmanship of brent lee hammond in 2012, we came out with a report which is a systematic, systematic either way. i've got to say, i'm old enough to remember when we tried to put the wastes away and i'll tell you, that proposal from congressman henle and general silk off is an absolutely sound the way in an orderly fashion to address all the concerns you properly are raising. >> we had hamilton in, we sat here with the chairs of the authorizing committee . we put together a nuclear waste policy for this country
which was voluntary. it went through three chairs of the energy committee working on this oh, from new mexico. murkowski, murkowski worked with us all along. we thought he built in there the two appropriators, the two authorizer's, all support the committee and the nuclear waste industry does nothing to help pass it. why? i don't understand this. we see the accidents take place. the kind of madness to build stuff and not be able to properly dispose of the waste . >> passed the bill. >> the only thing i will say, i want to turn to california. they're worried about california which we know
little about except my grandson living there, we have a much bigger interest in the state.i don't know how california is going to manage without those plants but i don't think it's so clear that it's going to be cost free. cost now in a risk sense. i would say i don't know but i know a lot of people in california who know a lot about energy. i don't think it's going to be so easy. >> are saying so far so good. >> so far so good but it's not at all clear. >> i guess i plead with the industry to help us get a permanent waste facility. one won't do it and there have to be a number of them. the wit accident which is now costing in the billions of
dollars, it's expensive stuff. we deal with the waste, with plutonium and uranium processing and it's the same kind of thing. it comes in and the hundreds of millions and it grows to the billions of dollars to build these facilities so somebody like me sees what's happening in california, says why are we thinking about this if we can't provide the infrastructure to do it right? >> we have to be players because there's going to be much bigger problems for these issues in india and china. the people are going to be building these programs are going to be russian firms, japanese firms area chinese firms, we have to be players in this. >> senator feinstein and i are going to figure out how to best pass. senator udall. >> thank you so much mister chairman and thank you both for your commitment to this
and having this hearing. mister deutsch, thank you. interesting testimonial till now and i hope it will continue. hundred 10 nations have ratified the paris planet deal will demonstrate and initiate a need for nuclear power. here at home, more than 300 60 businesses and investors support the paris climate agreement and hold carbon energy future in the united states. i'm very concerned about president-elect trumps statements about withdrawing from the paris agreement. many nuclear companies and supporters recognize the need for nuclear energy to meet emission goals, especially in the short term when we need dramatic movements on emissions. want withdrawing from the paris have potentially negative consequences on the future of nuclear power? do you give me a yes, sir no on that and you can expand?
>> i don't think so. >> you don't think so. >> i don'tthink i can give you a yes, sir no answer. >> go ahead .>> my credentials here are to report to the secretary of energy advisory board, not to make recommendations. >> but the experts say that you have directly reflects on this question. >> senator, i'm just not going to be able to be any help on you on this. i would go in a different direction but this is not the agency to address the question of paris or even morocco now. secretary modi's and secretary carry, unless they are coming back they say we are planning for 22. i'm not the person to ask about this. >> today, 20 percent of the
us electricity and as the chairman said, 63.3 percent of our carbon free electricity is produced by approximately 100 light water nuclear reactors.however, many of these plans may be prematurely closing before their 2030 plan requirement. which will result in increased proportions of energy produced by carbon emitting sources unless other renewable solar winds are able to replace the capacity of these lw our asses. what statutory changes are needed to ensure that our current nuclear energy plea remains a part of the us carbon free energy grid and what structural or statutory changes will be needed to enable nuclear innervation and the modernization of nuclear energy reactors? >> the answer is there have to be market free design. that subject dealt with the
great scale market design choices, whatchoices have to be made in the report . i would not have you want to hear me talk about all of them but let me say that you can't have the circumstances now around the country, not everywhere, not the united states with an exception, you can't have the market to have a preference in the dispatch of electricity to these low generating plants so they cannot make, even if they were cheaper. that has to be done on a state-by-state basis and it's a very, very tough cat. otherwise you're going to have more early retirements. >> i want to ask that first question in a different way. there are many efforts both
at the international level, the state level and at our national level to push us towards renewable sources of energy. pulling back on those, do you think would be a good idea? >> no. >> nuclear energy has a production tax credit incentive and it's had it for many years as you know. however, that credit now expired in the nuclear industry is preparing to ask congress for new forms of support. on the other hand, while renewable energy credit recently expanded as you know, they are faced down and there's no guarantee they will be extended again, rather than congress debating and continuing new technologies pacific tax
credits like the nuclear ptc or renewable ptcs with the best policy be a technology neutral price on carbon which would promote all clean energy technologies including nuclear renewables and the carbon capture administrations? >> i didn't quite get the last sentence. >> last is, and it's a long one so i understand that. rather than congress debating continuing new technologies specific tax credits that i mentioned earlier, like the nuclear ptc or renewable ptcs, what with the best policy be a technology neutral price on carbon which would promote all clean energy technologies including nuclear, renewables and carbon capsules? >> absolutely yes. or i would include in that all the oil and gas facilities as well which gives us a substance for a
certain kind. the answer is yes, the carbon charm, our revenue is critical but the answer is yes, it would be the most efficient way to do it. some members of my task force think that's exactly what you should do but that's not part of our report because we are on an initiative not to say yes to all these things we are discussing. >> thank youvery much . >>. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you senator thank you doctor duetsch for your work on the report. i have to say i share the issues that you raise in your testimony with respect to the importance of nuclear power as we are addressing our need to reduce carbon emissions not only in the us but throughout the world. i also share your concerns
about the importance of american technology when it comes to making america safe around the world. i remember talking to one of our engineers from the nuclear power plant in new hampshire who relayed to me what he was doing with russia after share noble and to try to address safety in there. so i think those are very important and very relevant as we think about our policy and i'm disappointed as we heard from several of the people here that i served on the energy committee under chairman dingman when we produced an energy bill that would have addressed nuclear policy in the future, that never made it to the floor. we have another bill being negotiated that didn't make it out of congress and also it's the future of nuclear power in this country so i think we have not been responsive in the way that we should in order to address
the future challenges area in new england, 30 percent of our total electricity comes from nuclear power. so the retirement of nuclear generators is of particular concern and you recommend significant reforms in the energy and electricity markets to help value the baseload power produced by reactors. i wonder if you could discuss in a little more detail than you did in response to senator udall what those kind of performs should look like because as we look at new england's wholesale electric operator, i think it's a challenge that we have both now and looking at in the future so what kinds of things are you talking about? >> thank you senator. let me say i'm not going to do as good of a job as i could have with some of my
task force members who specialized in what i do. but let me just take the case of illinois. where they close i think to reactors. because there was no way for them to detach at night. we will even bid negative prices so they get the test in order to earn these three credits per kilowatt hour or whatever it is. so the fact is you have to face that and we have a situation where some of this technology gets dispatched with a favorable rate because of a government subsidy. others who have a government subsidy, if they can't dispatch, that's a specific example. many of those states do not acknowledge the kinds of rates that need to set given whatever dispatch rules they
have so that a company gets back its investment. that's a negotiation the regulatorycompany but there is a balance . every state is different. so some parts of the country like the southeast are much more accommodating area but without market reform, ofsome kind , again, here's the situation that everybody was unanimous in our task force area. >> did burke have a role in this? what should theirrole have been ? >> i'm going to get myself in trouble but i think yes, i think burke should have a much larger role in this. it's the supreme court decision that gives them more ability. we have a long jealously guarded history of having local and regional utilities
set their own rates on their ownbasis. fundamentally , it does to my mind require more of a role that i'm sure you guys would have to face. >> i'm almost out of time but i also wanted to raise an issue that we are seeing in new hampshire with the secret nuclear power plant because they will come up for reelection in the early 2020s. and they've encountered some issues concerning concrete degradation of the asr, alkali silica reactions and they have led to concerns about the safety of the plants and the relicensing process so is this something that the committee looking at the future of nuclear power has looked at? how should we address safety issues like that and. >> i believe senator to make
the same point i tried to make earlier, when these plants were referred to in the 80s? >> this is not going to be 80 . it's relative ... >> as they get to be older, questions are going to be raised with the new plants would have to conform with. now you have a question about are you willing to make an assessment of the risks and say to them no, were not going to realign you or you have to repair? that's going to be on a case-by-case basis with the nrc. one time i do pretty well but i don't know anymore. most sections, concrete is a big deal. >> thank you mister chairman. >> thank you doctor duetsch, you've been terrific and it's good to have your experience and your straightforwardness here. i think i'm speaking for all of us, we thank you and your committee for your time and
work and secretary, if you have any additional comments you like for us to consider while we welcome you sending those to us after you leave. the time now goes to the second panel so we will excuse you and ask doctor mckenzie and doctor icenhour who i've introduced early to come forward. doctor icenhour is laboratory director of nuclear science and energy director at oakhurst national laboratory. doctor mckenzie, nuclear program director and senior scientist at national resources defense council. doctor icenhour we will start with you if we may and i'll ask each of you to summarize your remarks in about five minutes if you will which will give us time to consider , to ask questions and senator feinstein as an important question at four so
we will conclude either by then or not long after that. doctor icenhour.>> thank you chairman alexander. thank you member feinstein. i am very pleased to participate in this panel today. at oak ridge national laboratory, the privileged believe a talented group of scientists and engineers as we address scientific and technological challenges in both fusion energy, radioisotopes, nuclear modeling and simulation and nuclear security. our nuclear fission efforts include advanced reactor technologies , whitewater reactor sustainability , accident counter fuels, use nuclear fuels, bottling and simulations such as grant simulation of light water reactors. materials in extreme environments, manufacturing
and maintenance technologies and safety analysis and licensing approaches area this expertise enables broader contributions to nuclear security, safeguards and nonproliferation related r and d. we're all familiar with the so-called nuclear cliff which is the point in time when the current plant rapidly retires. so how will we replace that? how can we rapidly innovate and enable affordable and reliable advanced reactor technologies? the united states has historically led nuclear energy innovation and i believe that we must continue to do so. development of the next generation of reactors will provide clean, secure and affordable energy that will ensure the us industry is positioned to compete internationally. rapid deployment of advanced nuclear systems requires a science-based design and licensing approach with
contemporary science-based rules and techniques, development will be accelerated with high performance computing environments and this can also accelerate licensing. nuclear systems directly affect economics, performance, safety and the opportunity is at hand for a new generation ofreactors that will also employ a new generation of materials . we also have the opportunity to see reactors as never before. modern instrumentation and sensing techniques can optimize operations and further enhanced safety area predictive modeling and simulation tools provide a new basis for regulatory action , licensing. innovations can be introduced more quickly and designs can evolve on the drawing board.
recognizing the challenges i had, we must move forward deliberately to avoid a nuclear cliff. future us policy for nuclear energywill be critical. decisions are needed with specific goals , rapid innovation will be essential, requires collaborationamong the national laboratories , the histories and universities. we must also leverageexisting assets , for example the oak ridge national laboratory has unique facilities such as our research actor and hot cells which make handling and experimentation and analysis of nuclear materials. for analysis working with idaho and oregon national laboratories, the department of energy's gateway for accelerated innovation and it nuclear or gain initiative which is providing easier access to the technical capabilities of the national laboratories.
the timeline in economics for a hurdle for new reactor technologies that can be overcome through approaches such as increased use of modeling and simulation, advanced manufacturing techniques, development of new materials. there's a growing national interest in employment of advanced reactors and the associated fuel cycles as evidenced by the number of summits, symposiums, workshops, hearings and other advanced focused on that. such events express a collective sense of urgency. national laboratories are vital in meeting the challenges to the future of nuclear power. sustained r and d programs with clear long-term goals, this program will require technical and regulatory risks to improve economic competitiveness, develop the next generation of science
and engineers, establish advanced facility capabilities and address the entire fuel cycle. we are prepared to help solve these compelling challenges and we are partnering to enable rapid innovation area together we can succeed in bringing the best of our nations scientific understanding and engineering capabilities to bear on deploying the next generation of carbon free nuclear energy technologies. thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with the subcommittee. i respect thatmy written testimony they made part of the public record and i would be happy to answer any questions. >> thanks doctor icenhour. doctor mckenzie, welcome . >>. >> chairman alexander, members of the subcommittee, thank you for providing the
natural resources defense council, nrdc. his opportunity to extend our views on the future of nuclear power. nrdc is a national nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental activists with 2 million supporters. nrdc has been engaged with nuclear energy and weapons since our founding in 1970. and maintains a nuclear program which i direct. the future of nuclear power in the united states is uncertain and faces significant challenges. we've heard most reactors will reach the end of their life and close in the decades ahead and some are at risk of near-term shutdown. in addition to economic challenges, difficulties for nuclear power arise from safety, security, proliferation and nuclear waste. and the role of nuclear power is a low carbon energy source is being superseded by advances in energy efficiency , renewable energy
technologies. only four reactors are currently under production in the united states, or large 81,000 reactors in south carolina. one type of small marginal reactor is the new scale, they submit a license application to the nrc. so with many nuclear closures and a few nuclear bills, the future of nuclear energy is one out of decline. today's hearing considers what are called advanced nuclear reactors and how they impact the future of nuclear power and government support for the research and development. to summarize, my written testimony in few words would be be very cautious on advanced nuclear power. first, see what else we get with our current government investment in new nuclear projects . and importantly, prioritize unfinished business for the
waste issue among others. for decades, nuclear scientists and engineers have sought to develop advanced nuclear design that produces the amount of waste generated , that lower nuclear weapons proliferation risks and improves safety. such benefits advancednuclear arsenal theoretical .but importantly, there is no evidence that advanced nuclear would be economically competitive area in our testimony, nrdc respectfully offers five recommendations to the subcommittee in consideration of the government's role in advanced nuclear energy area i'll go through these five recommendations recommendation one , and i think this was a satellite in
today's hearing, give priority to nuclear waste. many thousands of tons of nuclear fuel must be isolated from people and from the environment for millennia. so i recommendation is to construct a jeep geologic repository using a science-based process before spending money on advanced nuclear. recommendation two, wait on the construction of the 81,000 and the new scale fmr. these are lessons learned from these projects that safety reliability and cost before looking at advanced nuclear plants. recommendation three, consistently apply a nuclear weapons proliferation test to advance nuclear designs. among the technology places, the united states nuclear power is unique in the overlap between civilian energy technology and nuclear weapons. the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation from nuclear power can be managed, can attempt to be managed but never eliminated. presenting proliferation of
utmost importance for the future of nuclear energy. recommendation for, consider the full impact of the nuclear fuel cycle associated with advanced reactors including severe accidents. many accidents of the whitewater reactor cycle are still not worked out including as we go up to this hearing the issue of the commission. recommendation five, get clear on the economic competitiveness of advanced nuclear early on. history should teach us caution, this was echoed in your opening statements that funding advanced nuclear research and development for uneconomical designs can mean taxpayers are responsible for far greater sums in the future. to conclude, if an energy policy for subcommittee members is to preserve the nuclear power option in the future, we hope you maintain a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the benefits of advanced nuclear technology concepts that taxpayers
support, thank you. >> thank you doctor mckenzie, senator feinstein. >> gentlemen, mister mckinzie , you know, it's interesting because we have no nuclear waste policy in this country. and as such, we pile up 20 million year, in the hundreds of millions of dollars and we've still failed to act. you looked at this. why does that happen? why wouldn't the industry want a nuclear waste policy? why wouldn't they want a nuclear policy, a process. we debated it, we discussed it and come to the conclusion to know that it has to be practical. it has to be voluntary. they have to want it. we have one in new mexico
with the people of with and around it wanted . that they take great pride in. a stupid accident where even the most sophisticated agency, loss follows contracts out to kitty litter and they used the wrong kitty litter and it explodes. so it's very hard for someone to conceive of future that's properly carried out and now that these fmr's are being proposed, i am told the only way they are economically cost-efficient is if they are grouped together so if you're going to put four, 300 or 400 megawatt reactors in one place, you still have to deal with the waste. how do you do that? so i guess i really developed
a jaundiced view of the practicality in this country and the ability, i was alerted what senator shaheen set up concrete and without going into it, john duetsch said lots of serious problems. now i'll find out exactly what it is. so if either of you have some comments to make because i think our first responsibility is safety to the public. it's to see that these things are secure and that the wast is secure, that they are as functional and efficient and well-built as they possibly can be, funded appropriately, runs fearlessly and that's difficult to have happen so it doesn't surprise me that people coming up or companies coming up our relicensing. they ought notto go ahead .
>> if i could be very candid on why i think we haven't supported a nuclear waste solution, i think it would be because the current waste situation is consistent with theindustry's business model . nuclear fuel, mostly in the wet pools, some in dry casks at reactor sites. that's fine wood business model. i object to the nrc finding that long-term storage is storing in densely packed wet pools doesn't represent an incredible danger. an incredible risk yet that is tolerated by the regulator. so there just is inertia in the industry. >> somebody correct me if i'm wrong but i believe for 5 to
7 years, then they should be removed from the spent fuel pool and it should be put in dry casks, hopefully transportation -related dry casks though that they can be moved then to a permanent waste facility if you don't have. so i can only speak for california which i know we are stacking up and you know, there's a very real danger in the spent fuel pools. water disappears, it's fragmented by an earthquake, you have all these hot rods, 300 piled up. it's a problem. so no one seems to care. that's what really bothers me . nobody seems to care. >> is a very difficult problem. the nrdc advocates for a
consent state and science-based approach on repository that also includes a variety of the state level for regulating radioactive material. that's not there, that is a component of with and we believe why lip was able to go forward in the first place but we believe that state authority and writing leading radioactive materials with respect to repository is the element to include. >> thank you thank you senator feinstein. just a couple of comments, i would not want people to leave this hearing without a different view being expressed about the safety of nuclear power. there's never been a bad debt in connection with the commercial operation of nuclear reactors in the united states and there's never been a death from reactors in the navy since the 1950s since they began during the only celebrated
accident we had in the united states was three mile island in 1979 and despite years of testing of everybody in the area, no one was hurt. so based on the safety record, no other form of energy has a better safety record and the nuclear regulatory commission which has expensive, careful regulation has determined that the use fuel is safely stored for many years in places where it is, which is on-site. and i agree that we need to move it and i would like to get it out of california also. we have a place to put it and the place is yourmountain in nevada . and the losses, that's where it should go. and the courts say that's what the law says and the scientists say it's safe therefore 1 million years so
you'll come out and is large enough to accept all the used nuclear fuel that we have stored on-site in the united states today. so we have a stalemate in the congress. the reason we haven't passed the legislation senator feinstein and i would like to pass is because we take the position that we should move ahead on all tracks but one and if we get stuck on one, we should continue to move on the others. some of those who strongly support your mountain say if you don't move on you, you're not going to move on anything. you've got to solve that, that's our responsibility. others would support our position, that's true but that's our responsibility to work out and were going to continue to fight back and try to do it. doctor icenhour, i have one or two questions. you heard thetestimony about the proposal for two advanced reactors .
licensed and ready for construction in 2030 from doctor joyce's support. do you think the goal is achievable and if so, what do you think it will take to accomplish it? >> yes senator, i believe it is achievable and one of the things i reflect on, i like history also as senator feinstein said and when i drive into oak ridge national laboratory, i drive past the graphite reactor and that's a lesson in history of what this country can do. a reactor that was built in nine months, went critical in november 1943. and that just reminds me of what we can do when we decide to do something so the question is how do we get there? we have to first of all decide. we can't move forward much like mister duetsch is saying. we have to decide how we are
going to do this. we have to set clear goals. we have to have focused efforts, focused are and d that will help move us along the way and it will take a public-private partnership to do this. the final element i would add is along the way we have to continue to work with nrc to have the appropriate regulatory framework for this. >> doctor icenhour, you talked about the big computers at oak ridge and the work you're doing on modeling and simulation. as we talk about relicensing, taking seabrook, maybe from four years to 60 years or taking some of the existing reactors from 60 years to 80 years which the nuclear regulatory commission is considering, how can the supercomputers you work with help with determining whether it's safe and appropriate to do that? >> one example of that senator is of course the
consortium for advanced simulation, light water reactors. which has developed a very high fidelity model of nuclear reactors and as we are able to understand that clearly, what's happening with the reactor as changes occur and so it's the use of advanced modeling simulations coupled with experimental data that can help enable the understanding and help inform the basis for moving forward for life extension. >> doctor mckinzie, you worked for a recognized group, the national resources defense council. i would assume you and the council are concerned about climate change. >> yes we are. >> 's committee was unanimous that we didn't take some action that by 2030 we wouldn't have a nuclear power option going forward.
you could lose 20 percent of our electricity and 60 percent of our carbon free electricity. you think that helps us deal with climate change? >> i question the 2030 as a cliff where all that power suddenly turns off. it will be more like a ramp down in power as different units reach different ages. >> this testimony was unanimous by widely divergent community that the option would be gone which i guess means that by then, we wouldn't have a way to continue it as over the next 20 years, the rest of the reactors would blow. >> adjusting climate trained is a critical problem that requires transformation in how our country, how the world generates and consumes energy. in the united states right now we have mixed ... >> my question is that it
helps dealing with climate change to lose the nuclear option by 2030 as his tests unanimously said would happen. >> i'm a skeptic that nuclear will be able to deliver the energy, the low carbon energy thatwe need to address climate change . >> today it produces 60 percent of our carbon free electricity . >> it has anuncertain future . >> how much of our carbon free electricity does it power? >> when the power produces less carbon free electricity nuclear but renewable energy efficiency, it is really made incredible advancesrecently in showing itself as a lower-cost option that nuclear for addressing climate change . >>
did i miss it to the nuclear can continue to contribute its current level. >> what would replace it? >> welcome of the department of energy's natural laboratory testing is an area where renewable energy can be the dominant source of clean energy. >> meaning when bill spiers! solar, wind. >> solar is 1% of our electricity. and when is about 3% to 4%. >> the recent growth has been extraordinary in that trend we
believe will continue. >> and is available when the wind in the solar is available. >> there is an issue of a float versus non-baseload generation to contend with. i would say that the transmission grid is evolving in time and change a name time and adapting to variable generation as well as there were probably be advances in storage. i think nuclear will probably play a role in the future. i'm not sure how large and they do know there are long understanding problems to solve first. >> so you do agree that finding a way to use nuclear feel is urgent. >> absolutely. >> you support opening the mountain. >> no.
for a million years. >> well, the process of restarting the project would begin with the license applications. resolving over 200 contentions coming to an significant information that may actually necessitate starting from scratch in terms of the license. >> so you think we could open another repository more rapidly than we can complete yucca mountain? >> yucca mountain will likely fail and so we need to go back to basics. >> it would fail because groups like yours don't support doing it even other science is doing it is another scientist at say 4 million years and the law says we should do it. >> they get through the licensing process. >> yucca mountain would be enough to hold all the feel of
the country we have today, correct? >> modifications are in vision that would enable it to store more fuel with titanium drip shields. >> the nuclear regulatory commission testified that yucca mountain is big enough to hold all the nuclear fuel currently stored in approximately 100 reactors. you disagree with that? >> i don't disagree with that. if you talk about the 77,000 tons stored currently. the united states will generate as much between now and then century. >> my view is we should open yucca mountain with yucca mountain with the fuel we have there, move it out of california, other places where it is in open repositories, private repository and solve our stalemate. in any event, we've had a terrific wide range of views here today both from the senators and from expert
witnesses, dr. mckinzie and not her icenhour, thank you for being part of our discussion. we've got the wrong page. the hearing record will remain open five days. all statements will be included in the record. the subcommittee requests all responses for the record be provided within 30 days of receipt. if either of you have something you'd like for us to consider that she didn't have a chance to say today or when you go home you wish you had that coming will send it to us and we'll distributed to it to the other senators. thank you for taking the time to be here. the subcommittee stands adjourned. found my -- [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] -- obviously want us to solve the stalemate. the second is carbon free producing energy sources equally either with no subsidy are the same subsidy and then the regulation may be. >> can you do that in an administration that doesn't climate change is a threat? >> climate changes and the only reason for nuclear power. the main reason is that produces
reliable power 95% of the time at a low cost that will help attract jobs as soon as japan and germany started closing the nuclear power plants and start looking at the value to build their plans. electricity prices in germany have gone through the roof because they've closed their nuclear power plants in the big manufacturing co. if you want to create jobs, you don't empower just from the sunshine. you need it all the time. >> technology path? >> i'm not ready to do that yet. i do want to see nuclear power treated equally with every other form of carbon free electricity, particularly since it produces reliable power and produces 60% of all the power we have. i'm glad to see that some of
those who care the most about climate change like senator whitehouse have come around to position. it makes absolutely no sense to close nuclear reactors if you care about climate change since climate changes cause by carbon and nuclear power plants produced 60% of our carbon free electricity. most people say one of the reports was nuclear doesn't get enough credit for being a carbon free source of electricity. maybe the syrians will help do that. the [inaudible conversations] >> filling out today across the c-span now for. the epa administrator gina
mccarthy will be at the national press club today. the bill but a washed the bill to watch that live at 1:00 p.m. eastern about 20 minutes from now on her companion up work on the c-span. a live look outside trump tower in new york city. we been watching this in the past few days as trump cabinet appointees have made their way up the elevator to me the president elect and we're inside now is misreported from several sources that hawaii democrat will be traveling today or today many what donald