S97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017, enabling the use of National Lab facilities to test private advanced nuclear designs, was signed into law on September 28, 2018 with bi-partisan co-sponsors and overwhelming support (voice votes only) in both the House and Senate.
Summary: The bill enables civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by private and public institutions by establishing the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) to facilitate the siting of privately funded advanced reactor prototypes at DOE sites through partnerships between the Department of Energy and private industry. In addition, this legislation authorizes an advanced nuclear energy licensing cost-share program to provide grants to developers of advanced reactor technologies in order to help offset the fees charged by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for certain costs related to licensing. The bill directs the DOE to determine the need for a new test reactor, the Versatile Neutron Source, to support research and development of advanced reactor systems by providing access to fast neutron spectrum irradiation capabilities, and directs the agency to construct such a facility by 2025. Finally, S. 97 authorizes the agency to expand capabilities in the area of high-performance computation modeling and simulation techniques for nuclear reactors, leveraging the Department’s existing computational expertise and infrastructure.
Read more about S. 97, Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act.