Upton, Rodgers Call on DOE Secretary Granholm to Secure America’s Nuclear Energy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm calling on her to ensure American leadership by securing America’s nuclear energy sector.
LETTER EXCERPT: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposes the risks of weakening American energy security. These risks extend beyond our oil and gas assets to include supply vulnerabilities in our civilian nuclear sector. This sector is essential for national and energy security, and for strengthening the geostrategic relationships necessary to compete with Russia, China, and other adversaries.
“Unfortunately, global nuclear fuel market disruptions in the wake of Japanese and German nuclear reactor shutdowns following the Fukushima accident in 2011, as well as U.S. reactor shutdowns over the past decade, undermined domestic uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment services. This eroded our domestic nuclear fuel infrastructure. At the same time, reliance on inexpensive, Russian-sourced fuels to well more than 20% of America’s nuclear fuel supply created strategic vulnerabilities. Those vulnerabilities now threaten disruption to fuel supplies for a nuclear fleet that is responsible for 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, as well as the timely deployment of advanced nuclear technologies.
“As Secretary of Energy, you have authorities under the Atomic Energy Act, the Department of Energy (DOE) Organization Act, and in recent laws enacted by Congress to take action to address immediate and long-term fuels supply vulnerabilities. For example, the Atomic Energy Act authorizes you to take actions to increase the availability of domestic uranium and conversion services to advance domestic fuel cycle capacity in the United States. These authorities also enable you to expand the existing American Assured Fuel Supply to address supply disruptions. Under the DOE Organization Act, you are authorized to direct coordination between components of the Department, including the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Office of Nuclear Energy, to assure that all DOE resources can be brought to bear to assist supply threats.
“Given looming risks to American nuclear fuel infrastructure and supply, we believe you should prioritize Departmental capabilities to address vulnerabilities in the short term and to facilitate restoration of private, domestic nuclear energy fuel infrastructure in the long term. Unfortunately, the President’s budget proposal indicates no action on this front.”
The members also ask Secretary Granholm to provide information by May 11, 2022 on the Department’s implementation on nuclear energy security measures.
As part of addressing the energy crisis, Leader Rodgers and Rep. Upton previously sent the following letters to Sec. Granholm: