The House Appropriations Committee has passed a spending bill of close to $1 trillion that includes $1.3 billion for the Department of Energy that will be used for nuclear power research and development. Among the funds the DOE will use to develop nuclear power projects – part of their $37.1 billion total budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1 – is $25 million that will be used to initiate the development of a temporary storage program for spent nuclear fuel.
The bill’s language gives the DOE broad discretion on nuclear power development. Aside from the funds allocated for a temporary storage program, the funds can go to the “next generation of clean and safe reactors” and to “further the safety and economic viability of our current reactor fleet and contribute to the nation’s long-term leadership in the global nuclear power industry.”
The House voted 226-203 to approve the spending packages that totaled $982.8 billion. There were four spending bills grouped together in the vote. The appropriations package is now awaiting approval in the Senate.
Currently, there are two proposed storage facilities, one designed for west Texas and the other expected in southeastern New Mexico, that are awaiting approval at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
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