House bill

U.S. bill aims to spur nuclear innovation

Posted on December 13, 2021 by Kim Riley

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Legislation recently introduced in the United States House of Representatives would accelerate innovation and increase private sector investment in advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

Under a bipartisan bill introduced on December 7 by U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) could no longer charge a fee for reviewing advanced reactor license applications nuclear.

“By eliminating the application fees for advanced fission and fusion reactors, we can generate huge innovation benefits that create jobs, improve the security of our country and generate more energy without emissions,” Gonzalez said.

Representative Gonzalez presented the Accelerating Nuclear Innovation Through Royalty Reform Act, HR 6154, with US Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA). The bill would exclude the current costs of reviewing NRC applications that can reach tens of millions of dollars for advanced nuclear companies, deterring them from bringing new technology to market, according to information provided by lawmakers. .

“If the United States is to be a climate leader while remaining energy independent, nuclear energy must play a central role in our country’s energy mix,” said Representative Gonzalez. “Unfortunately, NRC’s current fee model limits innovation by limiting agency resources and discouraging nuclear innovators early in the project life cycle. “

The legislation has garnered industry support.

“Advanced nuclear power can make an important and timely contribution to climate protection and this legislation recognizes the benefits of developing and deploying advanced reactors as a public good,” said Judi Greenwald, Executive Director of Nuclear Innovation Alliance.

Stephen G. Burns, a visiting principal researcher at the national Third Way think tank, said the bill would help spur innovation as new advanced reactor designs go through regulatory approval. “It also helps NRC innovate and adapt its licensing process without unduly focusing on the royalty system, as NRC examines these new designs and works to establish a technologically neutral framework like the ‘demands NEIMA,’ said Burns, former chairman and commissioner of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, referring to the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, which became law in 2019.