Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act aims to advance reactor tech

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The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Energy Subcommittee introduced a bill late last week that would facilitate research and development into advanced nuclear reactor technology.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act was introduced by Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-TX) and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology's chairman, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and its ranking member, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

“I am very pleased to co-sponsor the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which will help accelerate the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies that are safer, less expensive, more efficient and produce less waste than the current generation of nuclear reactors," Johnson said. "Nuclear power currently plays a pivotal role in providing our country with reliable energy.

"As a nation, it produces almost 20 percent of our total electric power, and it provides almost 9 percent of the electricity generated in the great state of Texas -- all with essentially no greenhouse gas emissions," Johnson said. "This bill will ensure that innovators at our national labs, universities, and in the private sector have the tools they need for nuclear energy to play a key role in enabling our nation’s clean energy future.”

Under this bill, the Department of Energy (DOE) will be required to prioritize research and development efforts that allow for the private sector to invest in reactor technology, which a committee report said would attract investment for DOE prototype development.

“The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act directs DOE to prioritize its R&D infrastructure on capabilities that will enable the private sector to develop advanced reactor technologies that could yield inherent safety, less waste, higher thermal efficiency, zero air emissions, increased reliability and greater resistance to proliferation,” Weber said.

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United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 2 Constitution Avenue Northeast D.C., DC 20002

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