March 07, 2018

Crapo, Risch Support Measure to Improve Nuclear Research, Drive Innovation

Washington, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation led by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and cosponsored by Sen. Risch, 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 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.” 

“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.” 

The measure, also cosponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will now be sent to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

 

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