Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Thursday, May 26, 2005

NUCLEAR AND HYDRO MEASURES ADDED TO ENERGY BILL

Craig secures language for nuclear power plant and hydroelectric licensing

WASHINGTON D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig was successful today inserting two key provisions into the Energy Bill. One authorizes the construction of a next-generation nuclear power plant (NGNP) at the Idaho National Laboratory and the other reforms the nation’s hydroelectric relicensing laws. Both measures are long-time initiatives for Senator Craig and were approved without dissent.

Craig praised the work of his colleagues, “I am pleased with the efforts of the Chairman, the Ranking Member, and my other colleagues to ensure both of these measures are included in our energy bill. The overwhelming support is vital to ensure enactment.”

The nuclear power language authorizes $1.25 billion for research and development and construction of the reactor, which mirrors House language. During the hearing, Craig stated, “Nuclear power must be an ever-increasing component of our energy production. This not only helps us reach that goal but sends a clear message to the world that the United States and the Idaho National Laboratory will lead in NGNP.”

The reactor will also produce hydrogen, a necessity should the U.S. migrate to hydrogen fuel-cell based automobiles. Just today, President Bush promoted a hydrogen economy during a visit to a Shell/GM hydrogen filling station in D.C.

The hydroelectric relicensing provision is the result of seven years of work by Senator Craig. The language affects all 1,600 federally-licensed hydropower projects. It allows the licensee or any other party to the licensing agreement to offer cost or power saving measures as alternatives to the mandatory conditions. In order to be adopted, they must meet the requirements of existing environmental laws and regulations. According to Craig, “Our relicensing system is broken and needs reform to ensure hydro continues to provide low-cost, clean power while mitigating the impacts of the dams. This language provides flexibility and protection of our resources – both key to keeping costs low for consumers.”

Text of the amendments is available on Senator Craig’s website.

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