WASHINGTON, D.C.—Two bills designed to facilitate development of small, scalable reactors were introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives. One is the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative Improvement Act; the other is the Nuclear Power 2021 Act. The chief sponsor of both measures is Congressman Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). Other lead sponsors include Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Nuclear Power 2021 Act authorizes the Department of Energy to lead a public-private partnership to develop innovative, small reactors. The Research Initiative Improvement Act directs DOE to develop a five-year strategy to lower the cost of licensing and building new reactors, including small reactors. Following is a statement from Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president of governmental affairs.
“The nuclear energy sector applauds Congressmen Altmire, Barton and the many other members of the House on both sides of the aisle who are sponsoring this important legislation. There are many positive aspects to smaller reactor designs that can be installed, incrementally, in less-populated areas of the country that don’t need large power stations, or in developing countries that lack sufficient electric grid capacity to accommodate large electric-generation facilities. Small reactors can be used along with large nuclear plants and renewable technologies to cleanly generate electricity that raises living standards, drives economic growth and creates jobs.
“Throughout its history, the U.S. government has successfully worked with the private sector to develop new technologies that have been in the public interest. The Nuclear Power 2021 Act can be a worthy successor to the public-private partnerships that pioneered breakthroughs in fields like medicine, technology and transportation. Such partnerships hold the potential to move the United States and the world forward with technology suited to the demands of 21st century society.
“The industry pledges to work cooperatively with Congressmen Altmire, Barton and others to advance this legislation as a means of bringing innovative, small nuclear energy technologies to the commercial marketplace.”