March 10, 2011

Nuclear Power Touted in Bipartisan Bill

Senate bill requires DOE to work with private sector on nuclear energy projects

 Washington, D.C.  - Legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Energy to work more actively with the private sector on nuclear energy partnerships has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.  Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have co-sponsored the Nuclear Power 2021 Act. 

The bill would increase the number of small modular nuclear reactors available to produce clean, alternative energy.  More than half of the development costs would be paid for by private investors. Other sponsors of the bill include Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), Committee Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Senators Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado).

"A growing, bipartisan group of Senators have sponsored this legislation, showing the recognition that nuclear power is receiving as we increase our alternative sources for new power," Crapo said.  "The Idaho National Lab, as the nation's lead nuclear laboratory, is in a good position to assist with that expanded nuclear research and development."

"America's need for electricity requires that we pursue clean nuclear energy that provides the needed base load power for our homes and businesses.  These small modular reactors are a key part of ensuring our energy security," said Risch.  "Idaho's history in nuclear technology and the INL's position as the nation's preeminent nuclear energy research lab makes us a natural leader in this public-private endeavor." 

A similar bill passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last session but Senate leadership did not bring it up for a vote by the full Senate.