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This week, the Science Committee held back to back hearings related to nuclear energy!
First, on Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing titled, “Accelerating Deep Space Travel with Space Nuclear Propulsion.” The hearing gave members an opportunity to understand and discuss the opportunities and challenges of space nuclear propulsion for enabling deep space exploration, examine the status of NASA’s R&D activities and plans for space nuclear propulsion, and to consider government and industry contributions to and collaboration on advancing space nuclear propulsion, among other issues.
“Space nuclear propulsion can produce thrust far more efficiently than conventional chemical systems, allowing for shorter trip times to Mars. Why does this matter? One reason is that shortening the trip reduces the risk of space radiation exposure to our astronauts.”
-Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics
On Thursday, the Subcommittees on Investigations and Oversight and Energy held a joint hearing titled, “Judicious Spending to Enable Success at the Office of Nuclear Energy.” During the hearing, members discussed several financial assistance awards made recently by the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy on a non-competitive basis. The Members and Witnesses also discussed best practices and principles for financial assistance agreements and contracting, including maximizing competition, limiting risk to the taxpayer, and informing spending decisions with technical and market analysis and documentation. The hearing also covered priorities of the Office of Nuclear Energy and witnesses discussed steps taken to date to carry out the relevant directions and authorizations provided in the Energy Act of 2020.
Climate Change: Code Red For Public Health
On October 20, the Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, released its annual report: The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change. The report, now in its sixth year, tracks the impact of climate change on human health. This year’s report also details the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for recovery investments to help build equitable mitigation and adaptation solutions to climate change. Among other important findings, the report highlights the inequities in global efforts to address climate change and that healthcare systems are ill-prepared for current and future health impacts from climate change.
“We must protect the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us, including disadvantaged communities who are hit first, worst, and hardest by many climate-related disasters and diseases.”
- Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
ICYMI: Chairwoman Johnson Asks Administrator Regan to Review Toxic Substances Control Act Systematic Review Methodology
On October 20, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan regarding concerns that the uncertainty surrounding the Systematic Review framework for risk evaluations conducted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) could undermine confidence in the chemical risk assessments currently being developed by the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP).