Bipartisan Advanced Nuclear Research and Energy Bill Passes Senate
PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIPS WILL IMPROVE RESEARCH, DRIVE INNOVATION
Bipartisan legislation led by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) cleared the Senate today by voice vote. The measure, S.97, known as the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, (NEICA), would create partnerships between private-sector innovators in nuclear energy with government researchers to create the next generation of clean, advanced nuclear power.
The measure, cosponsored by Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), would direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize partnering with private innovators to test and demonstrate advanced reactor concepts. The measure authorizes the creation of a National Reactor Innovation Center that brings together the technical expertise of the National Labs and DOE to enable the construction of experimental reactors. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) would partner with the DOE in this effort, which would enable the NRC to contribute its expertise on safety issues while also learning about the new technologies developed through the Center. This measure strengthens the abilities of national laboratories to partner with private industry to prove the principles behind their ideas.
"This measure provides the women and men at Idaho National Laboratory and our other national labs additional research capabilities for critical testing and collaboration with the private sector to advance the future of nuclear energy,” said Senator Crapo. “There is strong bipartisan agreement in Congress that nuclear energy is underappreciated as a reliable, safe, clean and efficient part of our national energy portfolio. Working together, we were able to demonstrate to our colleagues in the Senate the importance of eliminating barriers to innovation within the private sector and strengthening collaboration for our national labs.”
"I am proud to join in supporting this important legislation, which will help usher in the next generation of nuclear technology. Nuclear power plays an important role in powering our nation, and it will for years to come. This legislation will ensure that our nation is prepared for an exciting future,” said Senator Whitehouse.
“As we look ahead, there is bipartisan agreement that the use of clean, nuclear power should be part of our “all-of-the-above” American energy strategy,” said Senator Risch. “As our nation’s nuclear energy lab, I am confident that the men and women at the Idaho National Lab will pioneer the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors. I encourage my House colleagues to pass this bill expeditiously.”
“My home state of Illinois ranks first in nuclear power generation and accounts for one-tenth of the nuclear power generated in our country. So I know from experience the potential of nuclear power to change our energy future,” said Senator Durbin. “But this future can only be realized if we invest in collaborative partnerships to build on the innovative research already being done across the country. I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill, which will provide additional research infrastructure for academia, our National Laboratories, and the private sector to make scientific discoveries and protect America’s position at the forefront of nuclear energy innovation.”
"I am proud to join in supporting this important legislation, which will help usher in the next generation of nuclear technology. Nuclear power plays an important role in powering our nation, and it will for years to come. This legislation will ensure that our nation is prepared for an exciting future,” said Senator Hatch.
“Nuclear power is an essential part of our nation’s electricity supply. It’s clean, safe, efficient, and reliable,” said Senator Murkowski. “Re-establishing American nuclear leadership by moving advanced reactors to market is necessary for our energy security and our national security. This bipartisan bill will promote public-private partnerships, enabling the development and deployment of advanced reactors, including micro-reactors – which are especially exciting to me as a potential solution for rural communities and remote military installations in Alaska.”
“Reducing our carbon emissions as quickly as possible requires prioritizing the development and commercialization of next-generation advanced nuclear reactors. Today’s Senate passage of our bipartisan bill is an important step toward that goal,” said Senator Booker.
The measure will now be sent to the House of Representatives for its consideration.