WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legislation designed to facilitate development of small, scalable reactors was introduced March 8 in the U.S. Senate. The Nuclear Power 2021 Act (S. 512) was introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), along with Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). The legislation directs the Secretary of Energy to implement programs to develop and demonstrate two reactor designs, one fewer than 300 megawatts of electric generating capacity and the other fewer than 50 megawatts. This public-private, cost-shared program would facilitate the design certification by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of two small reactor designs by the end of 2017 and the licensing of the reactors by the end of 2020. Following is a statement from Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president of governmental affairs:
“The nuclear energy industry applauds Chairman Bingaman and Senators Murkowski and Udall for their leadership in proposing the Nuclear Power 2021 Act.
“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. It is modeled on a cost-shared partnership approach that has functioned effectively for the siting, design and licensing of larger advanced-design reactors, and industry is confident it can help address the unique development needs associated with small reactor designs whose major components and systems can be built in a factory environment and shipped directly to a plant site.
“Smaller reactor designs 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 reactor technology has the potential to strengthen U.S. energy security, create jobs and help America remove carbon from the electric, transport and industrial sectors.
“The industry pledges to work cooperatively with these distinguished senators and others to advance this legislation. It is important that these innovative, small nuclear energy technologies reach the commercial marketplace.”