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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) joined a bipartisan group in introducing the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act of 2023.

“Advanced nuclear energy presents boundless potential, and the ADVANCE Act will make the kind of clean and reliable nuclear power being developed at the Idaho National Lab available to the nation. With this bill, we will strengthen America’s existing nuclear fleet and improve our ability to develop new nuclear technologies and deploy them faster,” Risch said.

“Providing energy security at home and abroad should be a broadly bipartisan priority, and the best way to do so is to continue our investment in nuclear energy,” Crapo said. “The ADVANCE Act ensures nuclear energy becomes a larger part of our nation’s diverse energy portfolio.  With the world-leading Idaho National Laboratory in our backyard, Idaho is responsible for facilitating and promoting international nuclear competitiveness through research, innovation and workforce development.”

Original cosponsors of the ADVANCE Act include Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

 The ADVANCE Act would:

  • Facilitate American Nuclear Leadership by:
    • Empowering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to lead in international forums to develop regulations for advanced nuclear reactors.
    • Establishing a joint Commerce Department and Energy Department initiative to facilitate outreach to nations that are seeking to develop advanced nuclear energy programs.
  • Develop and Deploy New Nuclear Technologies by:
    • Reducing regulatory costs for companies seeking to license advanced nuclear reactor technologies.
    • Creating a prize to incentivize the successful deployment of next-generation nuclear reactor technologies.
    • Requiring the NRC to develop a pathway to enable the timely licensing of nuclear facilities at brownfield sites.
  • Preserve Existing Nuclear Energy by:
    • Modernizing outdated rules that restrict international investment.
    • Extending a long-established, indemnification policy necessary to enable the continued operation of today’s reactors and give certainty for capital investments in building new reactors.
  • Strengthen America’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain Infrastructure by:
    • Directing the NRC to establish an initiative to enhance preparedness to qualify and license advanced nuclear fuels.
    • The bill identifies modern manufacturing techniques to build nuclear reactors better, faster, cheaper, and smarter.
  • Authorize funds for Environmental Cleanup Programs by:
    • Authorizing funding to assist in cleaning up legacy abandoned mining sites on Tribal lands.
  • Improve Commission Efficiency by:
    • Providing the NRC Chair the tools to hire and retain highly-specialized staff and exceptionally well-qualified individuals to successfully and safely review and approve advanced nuclear reactor licenses. This is essential with the NRC staff under attrition pressure due to an aging workforce.
    • Requiring the NRC to periodically review and assess performance metrics and milestone schedules to ensure licensing can be completed on an efficient schedule.

Full text of the ADVANCE Act (S.1111) can be found here.