WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) joined U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tom Carper (D-DE) to send a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Kristine Svinicki asking the agency use its authority to temporarily defer the collection of fees and charges from NRC licensees.
Walden serves as Republican leader of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Barrasso and Carper serve as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
In the letter, the committee leaders support providing additional time for licensees to pay annual fees due to the ongoing national emergency to respond to COVID-19.
Read the full letter below.
Dear Chairman Svinicki,
As our country responds to the coronavirus pandemic, we request that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) consider using existing authorities to temporarily defer collecting fees and charges from NRC’s licensees. We ask you to provide additional time for annual charges to operating nuclear power plants, payments due by entities that hold a license to possess radioactive materials, and collection of fees for service, if such delay does not interfere with NRC’s mission. We believe the NRC should consider deferring the fee collection for at least 90 days.
During the ongoing national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, critical industries, including electric power, are experiencing economic challenges. Many power companies have suspended electricity disconnects for nonpayment as hard-working Americans face unprecedented employment hardships. Additionally, medical facilities and industrial companies that are facing extreme financial pressure may owe fees associated with holding an NRC materials license.
The Commission sends invoices to licensees for annual charges on a quarterly basis. The current year’s projected annual charge is approximately $4.7 million for each operating nuclear reactor. The second quarter ends on March 31, 2020. Payment of approximately $1.2 million per reactor will be due shortly thereafter.
This funding is ultimately paid by American ratepayers, who are struggling to make ends meet during the current crisis. Deferring the collection of NRC’s fees will provide critical temporary relief and improve the ability of the NRC’s licensees to manage their finances in response to this crisis.
We ask that you respond to this letter by Wednesday, April 1, 2020. We appreciate your prompt consideration of this request.
John Barrasso, M.D.
Thomas R. Carper