Among its numerous provisions, the bill directs the Department of Energy to open its research infrastructure to national laboratories, academia and the private sector. It creates a program where DOE and national laboratories will support the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts that are proposed and funded by private companies. It calls for more collaboration between the DOE and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And it sets planning goals for the Department of Energy designed to speed up the development of advanced reactors.
“Today’s House vote brings us one step closer to advancing innovative partnerships that will drive the next generation of reliable, clean nuclear power,” Risch said in a statement. “As home to the Idaho National Lab, our nation’s nuclear energy lab, Idaho is a natural leader in this public-private endeavor and I will continue to support INL’s leadership as they develop advanced nuclear technology.”
Idaho National Laboratory has been discussed as a possible hub for advanced reactors in the near future. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing a proposal to build 12 small modular reactors at INL’s desert site west of Idaho Falls.