Two bills making their way through Congress would clear longstanding government obstacles to nuclear innovation.
The Nuclear Innovation Capabilities Act, approved by the U.S. Senate March 7, will allow private companies access to national laboratories to develop new nuclear reactor designs.
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The Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act, approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, directs the Department of Energy to facilitate work on several demonstration projects for new nuclear reactor designs.
Nuclear power advocates have long expressed frustration over a federal bureaucracy that has stifled nuclear power innovation. Innovative new technologies and reactor designs have remained nothing more than ideas on paper as federal bureaucrats have been slow to review and approve new technologies and nuclear reactor designs. Nuclear power advocates are particularly excited about the potential economic, environmental, and safety prospects of small modular reactors and molten salt reactors.
The U.S. House has passed a similar bill to the Nuclear Innovation Capabilities Act, and is expected to pass legislation similar to the Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act upon that bill being approved by the full Senate. If signed into law, the two bills could have a dramatic impact boosting America’s zero-emissions energy portfolio.