Senate OKs measure to facilitate public-private nuclear research ventures

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station | Courtesy of Entergy Corp.

The U.S. Senate approved a measure late last week that supports increased cooperation between private industry and federal Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories for nuclear technology development.

This measure is an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which is expected to be voted on this week, Sen. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) office said. Kirk introduced the amendment with fellow Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jim Risch (R-ID) signed on as co-sponsors.

“This vote demonstrates the commitment in the Senate to a long-term future for nuclear-power production and research opportunities,” Crapo said. “This vote recognizes the many contributions to technology and research from the experts at the [Idaho National Laboratory (INL)] and our other partner national laboratories. It demonstrates that, despite some of the government-caused challenges faced by the current fleet of reactors, nuclear energy is a vital part of a national, varied approach to energy production.”

The amendment, also known as the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), would require the DOE to facilitate partnerships with private companies to develop nuclear technology, including reactor-design concepts.

“Nuclear energy is a proven, clean, reliable and affordable form of energy, capable of providing for the demands of a rapidly growing population,” Kirk said.

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Idaho National Laboratory U.S. Senator Mark Kirk

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