EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Seek To Clear Roadblocks For Small Businesses Using Nuclear Tech

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, will introduce legislation Thursday allowing small businesses to more easily access and benefit from nuclear technology.

Donalds’ bill, the Nuclear Assistance for America’s Small Businesses Act, would delay the collection of Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) application fees for businesses with fewer than 750 employees. The independent agency receives 90% of its funding from user fees, and expects to collect more than $752 million in Fiscal Year 2022. The user fees make developing nuclear energy prohibitively expensive, Donalds told the Daily Caller, preventing American businesses from developing diverse energy sources.

“As a champion for representing small businesses around our great nation, I’m proud to introduce this bill to ultimately level the playing field for small businesses that seek to get involved in the advanced nuclear industry,” he said in a statement.

Several American companies are in the process of developing advanced small modular nuclear reactors, and research and development has sped up in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. TerraPower LLC, a startup founded by Bill Gates, is developing a plant in Wyoming that could come online by 2028.

Nine other Republicans are cosponsoring the Nuclear Assistance for America’s Small Businesses Act. The bill allows small businesses to delay 50% of pre-application fees and 35% of post-application fees over a ten-year period. The NRC charged applicants $290 an hour per employee to review applications during FY2022.

Read the bill here:

Nuclear Assistance for Amer… by Michael Ginsberg

Amid rising energy costs, some Republicans have pushed for American grids to employ more nuclear power. Doing so would require building more reactors, as well as modernizing existing ones. In contrast, Democrat-run states Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania closed down nuclear power plants in 2019 and 2021, leading to rising prices and increased carbon emissions.

“We’re seeing the local energy company talk about increasing electricity rates as a result. Nuclear energy is clean energy, and it was stupid of [Democratic former New York] Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo to close Indian Point,” Republican New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis told the Caller, referring to the 2019 closure of Indian Point power plant in Buchanan, New York. (RELATED: House Republicans Reveal The One Policy They Want Biden To Announce At State Of The Union)

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) current application review process and the fees associated with agency engagement are the epitome of burdensome government barriers that disincentivize small business participation and nuclear innovation. This bill will assist small businesses by providing them with the option to defer a portion of their accumulated NRC fees until after their application review process concludes. I’m thankful for my colleagues for supporting this important piece of legislation,” Donalds added.