Managing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Policy Implications of Expanding Global Access to Nuclear Power [November 1, 2007] [open pdf - 567KB]
"After several decades of decline and disfavor, nuclear power is attracting renewed interest. New permit applications for 30 reactors have been filed in the United States, and another 150 are planned or proposed globally, with about a dozen more already under construction. In the United States, interest appears driven, in part, by provisions in the 2005 Energy Policy Act authorizing streamlined licensing that combine construction and operating permits, and tax credits for production from advanced nuclear power facilities. […] Despite 30 years of effort to limit access to uranium enrichment, several undeterred states pursued clandestine nuclear programs; the A.Q. Khan black market network's sales to Iran and North Korea representing the most egregious examples. Concern over the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies, combined with a growing consensus that the world must seek alternatives to dwindling and polluting fossil fuels, may be giving way to optimism that advanced nuclear technologies may offer proliferation resistance. […]Congress will have a considerable role in at least four areas of oversight related to fuel cycle proposals. The first is providing funding and oversight of U.S. domestic programs related to expanding nuclear energy in the United States. The second area is policy direction and/or funding for international measures to assure supply. A third set of policy issues may arise in the context of implementing the international component of GNEP. A fourth area in which Congress plays a key role is in the approval of nuclear cooperation agreements."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34234