WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Ranking Member of the Energy Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered the following opening remarks today at the hearing on “DOE Modernization: Advancing the Economic and National Security Benefits of America’s Nuclear Infrastructure”
Rush Opening Statement as Prepared for Delivery:
"I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing today on advancing the economic and national security benefits of America’s nuclear infrastructure.
"Mr. Chairman, as I understand it, there are several bills regarding nuclear policy that the majority has noted in its memo.
"I look forward to working with the majority side as we proceed through regular order and bring these bills up in a legislative hearing in order to hear from expert witnesses on the consequences and impacts of these bills.
"Mr. Chairman, I believe we may be able to come to bipartisan agreement on most, if not all of those bills in order to increase their chances of actually becoming law.
"Mr. Chairman, as I have stated many times before, I subscribe to an all-of-the-above energy portfolio, even as we move towards a low-carbon energy economy.
"I have also stated on many occasions, I believe nuclear energy must play a vital role as a source of safe, reliable, low-carbon power that can help us meet both the energy and environmental needs of the 21st Century.
"While I did not agree with the recent Department of Energy Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued last year that was recently rebuffed by FERC, I continue to maintain that we must find a way to appropriately appraise nuclear energy nationally.
"However, I believe this must be done in a fair, methodical, and transparent manner by elected policymakers, rather than done hastily and in secret by unelected agency officials.
"Therefore, it is my hope that in addition to today’s hearing, we will have other opportunities to hear from stakeholders on the benefits and impacts of both traditional nuclear facilities, as well as advanced nuclear technologies, including non-light water reactors and light-water small modular reactor designs.
"Mr. Chairman, these new and emerging technologies will allow for the production of nuclear power more efficiently and with less waste than current technologies.
"Mr. Chairman, I can imagine a scenario where these smaller, less costly reactors can be utilized to power hard-to-reach remote populations, whether they be in small rural communities in the Midwest, or native villages in Alaska, or to help the thousands of Americans still living without power in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"To be sure, Mr. Chairman, there remains significant issues that must be addressed including issues of safety, licensing, and the commercialization of these advanced technologies.
"But it is my expectation that Members of this Subcommittee can indeed address many of these issues with bipartisan solutions that would benefit the nation as a whole.
"So, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to engaging today’s distinguished panelists on both the challenges and well as the opportunities that lie ahead in the nuclear sector.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and with that I yield back the balance of my time."