March 27, 2019

Crapo, Risch Join Bipartisan Coalition to Reintroduce Nuclear Energy Leadership Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined a bipartisan coalition to reintroduced legislation boosting nuclear energy innovation and ensure advanced reactors can provide clean, safe, affordable, and reliable power to meet national and global energy needs.  

The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), aims to reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy. It will bring together private and public sector innovators to develop next-generation advanced reactor concepts. 

“Now more than ever, the use of clean and safe nuclear power is an essential component of our nation’s energy security,” said Risch, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said. “This legislation will empower our national labs and industry partners to work together and continue exploring nuclear’s full potential. As our nation’s flagship 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 and help America remain a world leader in nuclear energy.” 

“NELA would help launch robust public-private partnerships between the federal government, research institutions like Idaho National Laboratory, and industry innovators to develop, test and deploy new nuclear technologies,” said Crapo. “The legislation will provide a long-term vision and strategy for advanced nuclear energy research in the U.S. and maintain our nation’s leadership in advancing cutting-edge nuclear technology to provide clean, reliable energy.” 

Advanced reactors are the next generation of breakthrough nuclear technologies that will offer significant advantages for power generation. Some are smaller than today’s commercial reactors and can provide increased reliability and resilience to the grid, as well as off-grid power. Others will utilize exotic fuels, materials, and coolants to decrease the cost of delivered power or provide high-temperature process heat for industrial manufacturing. 

Although the United States invented and commercialized nuclear power, our leadership has slipped, creating the need for new policies that encourage opportunities for the industry to design and deploy advanced reactor concepts. NELA will help facilitate the path to market for advanced reactors by allowing the federal government to be an early adopter of commercialized technologies; providing for needed scientific research facilities; demonstrating advanced reactor concepts; breaking down fuel availability barriers when the market cannot; and training the next generation of nuclear scientists. 

This bill contains several sections, including:

  • Authorization of Long-Term Power Purchase Agreements;
  • Long-Term Nuclear Power Purchase Agreement Pilot Program;
  • Advanced Nuclear Reactor Research and Development Goals;
  • Nuclear Energy Strategic Plan;
  • Versatile, Reactor-Based Fast Neutron Source;
  • Advanced Nuclear Fuel Security Programs; and a
  • University Nuclear Leadership Program. 

A copy of the full text of the legislation is available here. Click here for a one-page bill summary and here to view a section-by-section.  

The measure was introduced by Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and is also co-sponsored by Cory Booker, D-N.J., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Chris Coons, D-Del., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

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