Barrasso Hails Broad Support for Bipartisan Nuclear Fuel Security Act

December 13, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), applauded the inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Barrasso has worked with ENR chairman Manchin (D-WV), Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Jim Risch (R-ID), and other advocates for nuclear energy to ensure inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act. This measure was added to the NDAA during Senate debate through an amendment cosponsored by Senators John Barrasso, Joe Manchin, Jim Risch, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

“The Nuclear Fuel Security Act will help secure the future of American nuclear fuel production. We are stronger and safer as a nation when our nuclear fuel supply chain starts and ends here at home. The inclusion of this legislation in the NDAA is the first step towards taking uranium production out from under the thumb of Vladimir Putin and his corrupt regime. Russian energy has no place in the American marketplace,” said Senator Barrasso.

The Nuclear Fuel Security Act is widely supported across the stakeholder community:

"The Nuclear Fuel Security Act is a key step in ensuring America's leadership in advanced nuclear and ensuring the success of TerraPower's Natrium project in Wyoming. Next generation nuclear needs next generation nuclear fuel and enabling a domestic advanced fuel supply chain allows us to end our dependence on foreign sources of advanced nuclear fuel,” said Jeff Navin, Director of External Affairs, TerraPower.

“We applaud the inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the House-Senate agreement for the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation will help rebuild all components of our domestic nuclear fuel cycle that we have allowed to dangerously erode in recent years, increasing our dependence on Russian and other state-owned entities for uranium. With these new authorities and tools in place, we urge Congress and the Administration to move forward with a long-overdue ban on Russian uranium imports. The U.S. nuclear fuel industry has significant untapped licensed capacity and is poised to invest billions of dollars in domestic production, conversion, and enrichment capacity to meet our needs well into the future. But a Russian uranium ban is critical to unlocking these investments and ensuring they are not undercut by Russia flooding the U.S. market,” said Scott Melbye, President and Executive Vice President of Uranium Energy Corp.

“The Nuclear Fuel Security Act is a pivotal step towards establishing a domestic nuclear fuel supply. America and its allies cannot continue to rely on unreliable, autocratic regimes like Vladmir Putin’s Russia to fuel our nuclear plants. By including The Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the Defense bill, Congress is establishing a reliable and secure nuclear fuel supply. Once this is enacted, Congress must move swiftly to fully fund this program so that the nuclear fuel American power plants need is, in fact, made in the US,” said Josh Freed, Senior Vice President for the Climate and Energy Program, Third Way.

“Energy security is national security,” said Rich Powell, CEO, ClearPath Action. "The Nuclear Fuel Security Act addresses both so the U.S. can maintain and expand its nuclear energy fleet, as well as support our allies who are looking to stop using Russian nuclear fuel. ClearPath Action applauds the inclusion of this piece of legislation in the NDAA." 

“As I testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, domestic fuel assurance is a major risk to the advancement of our project. Inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the NDAA is an important step forward to enable the line-of-sight necessary for advanced nuclear investments in the U.S. to be successful,” said Edward Stones, Vice President for Energy and Climate, Dow Inc.

“GLE commends Senator Barrasso’s leadership efforts, working alongside Senator Manchin, to incorporate the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the NDAA with overwhelming bipartisan support. We strongly support its passage to enable the revitalization of the domestic nuclear fuel cycle, support supply diversity, deploy next generation enrichment technology, and end the reliance on Russia for our energy security,” said James Dobchuk, President & Chief Commercial Officer, Global Laser Enrichment.

“Constellation applauds the House and Senate for coming together to address the important issue of nuclear fuel security as part of the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Joe Dominguez, President and CEO of Constellation. “It is imperative that Congress also act this year to fund the program authorized in the bill. It is critical that the U.S. build out domestic capacity to provide fuel to power advanced reactors in the future and serve the existing nuclear fleet, which provides half of the nation’s clean, carbon-free electricity and remains essential to maintaining our nation’s energy security and reliability as we transition to a clean grid.”

“Achieving U.S. energy security begins with secure, reliable and responsible domestic energy supply chains. The inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the FY2024 NDAA conference report is an important step forward in addressing the nation’s alarming overreliance on nuclear fuel imports and insulating our energy and national security from supply disruptions. The NMA looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to support domestic uranium mining operations and encouraging the reshoring of essential mineral supply chains. Doing so will strengthen our economic, energy and national security for generations to come,” said Rich Nolan, President and CEO of the National Mining Association.

“We commend Congress for the inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the National Defense Authorization Act, advancing policy that could have a transformational impact on the nuclear supply chain and American energy leadership,” said J. Clay Sell, CEO of X-energy. “Developing American-led capabilities to provide high-assay, low-enriched uranium for advanced nuclear reactors is critical to enabling both domestic and global deployment needed to strengthen energy security and significantly contribute to reducing global emissions. The importance of this issue is exemplified by the overwhelming bipartisan, bicameral support for moving this program forward.”

“We’re excited to see sustained bipartisan and bicameral support for advanced nuclear energy. Ensuring a sustainable, domestic, commercial fuel cycle for advanced reactors is critical to the successful deployment and operation of advanced nuclear technologies that can provide significant clean energy and energy security benefits. Including the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the National Defense Authorization Act will enable the DOE to help increase domestic production of low-enriched uranium for existing reactors and prioritize programs that increase the availability of high-assay, low-enriched uranium for many advanced reactors. Congressional prioritization of domestic nuclear fuel production in NDAA will help ensure both a clean and secure energy future for the United States. This and other vital, bipartisan efforts by Congress will help ensure advanced nuclear energy contributes to the nation’s climate, energy and economic goals,” said Nuclear Innovation Alliance Executive Director Judi Greenwald.

“Energy Northwest strongly supports passage of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act to increase domestic nuclear fuel production, which is vital to both the country’s existing fleet of nuclear power plants as well as our ability to deploy next generation nuclear energy technologies,” said R.E. Schuetz, CEO of Energy Northwest.  “As the owner of Columbia Generating Station, the northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant, and with plans to help meet the region’s clean energy goals by deploying new nuclear energy technologies – such as advanced small modular reactors – Energy Northwest recognizes the importance of establishing robust domestic nuclear fuel capabilities. Nuclear energy will play a pivotal role in meeting the nation’s growing energy needs and developing a reliable U.S. nuclear fuel supply chain is indispensable to our country’s future energy independence and security.”

"On behalf of America's nuclear professionals, the American Nuclear Society welcomes the inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024. In an increasingly volatile world, it's crucial to kick-start domestic supplies of advanced nuclear fuel. Ramping up U.S. production of high-assay, low-enriched uranium would propel us toward a cleaner and more secure energy future. This plan would help meet the fuel needs of rapidly deploying advanced reactors in coming years while reducing our reliance on energy imports from hostile foreign regimes," said Craig Piercy, CEO and Executive Director of the American Nuclear Society.

"Oklo strongly supports the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. Rapidly developing a robust domestic high-assay, low-enriched uranium supply chain is critical to national energy security and the deployment of advanced reactor technologies that will be a key pillar in America's clean energy future. Ensuring fuel for each of America's advanced nuclear technology developers and innovators is crucial to sustaining American nuclear leadership," said Everett L Redmond II, Ph.D. Senior Director, Fuel Affairs, Oklo.

“The U.S. commercial nuclear industry is committed to transitioning to a secure domestic nuclear fuel supply, and this language in the NDAA is an important step toward that goal; I am appreciative of Senate and House leadership ensuring its inclusion. The nuclear power industry plays a vital role in our nation’s clean energy economy, but a reliable domestic fuel supply is imperative to make it all work and NEI encourages Congress to provide the required funding to expand domestic production. Not only will this advance our country’s decarbonization goals but also strengthen our national security,” said Maria Korsnick, CEO of Nuclear Energy Institute.

“The Nuclear Fuel Security Program outlined in the Senate’s NDAA bill would help reclaim American leadership in the global nuclear fuel market. Restoring America’s domestic nuclear fuel supply chain is critical to national security, energy security, and the effort to build a clean energy economy for the future,” said Centrus President and CEO Dan Poneman.

"I want to commend Chairman Manchin and Ranking Member Barrasso, as well as the conferees, for demonstrating their steadfast commitment to securing our nation's energy future and independence by authorizing the Nuclear Fuel Security Program in the NDAA. This legislation sends a clear signal that advanced nuclear technology, such as that being developed by Abilene Christian University in partnership with Natura Resources, will be well-positioned for success. Increasing access to domestic supplies of fuel will facilitate important research, like our molten salt research reactor, that will serve as a catalyst for the commercialization of new safe, clean, and reliable energy technologies,” said Dr. Phil Schubert, President, Abilene Christian University.

“Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation applauds the inclusion of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act in the FY2024 Defense Authorization conference report. The legislation is vitally important in unlocking the United States’ ability to lead the world in providing clean and safe nuclear energy, especially in regard to the front-end of the fuel cycle and the development of advanced reactors. We look forward to working with Congress to provide the resources necessary to put this vision into action,” said Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation.