On July 19, 2023, Energy Northwest and X-Energy announced a Joint Development Agreement that calls for the deployment of up to 12 Xe-100 small modular reactors in Central Washington. The agreement was announced nearly five months after X-Energy announced plans to move its proposed Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project (ARDP) from Central Washington to one of DOW’s U.S. Gulf Coast sites — a significant step back in the state’s objective to achieve carbon neutrality under the Clean Energy Transformation Act.
Notwithstanding, however, recent federal legislation appears to be heavily incentivizing commercial nuclear energy across the country. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 provided a number of mechanisms to propel the growth of advanced nuclear energy in the United States. The IRA established tax credits for nuclear power plants and other zero-emission generating facilities placed into service after 2024. Eligible plants can receive a ten-year electricity production tax credit of up to 2.6 cents/kilowatt-hour (adjusted for inflation) or a 30% investment tax credit. The IRA also included $700 million for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop supplies of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), needed for some advanced nuclear reactor designs. The DOE recently sought feedback on two draft requests for proposals to acquire HALEU.
There has also been recent legislative and regulatory activity designed to facilitate the implementation of advanced nuclear projects. In March, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act of 2023, which would, among other things, award prizes for licensed advanced nuclear reactors. Also in March, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff sent the NRC a draft proposed rule titled “Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors,” which offers a licensing framework for advanced nuclear reactor technologies. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of senators and House members sent a letter urging the NRC to review and modify this proposed rule as necessary to enable its successful use for licensing of advanced nuclear reactors.
This article summarizes aspects of the law and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice for your situation, you should contact an attorney.
Ideas & Insights
News and Insights delivered to your inbox