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Congressman Tim Ryan

Representing the 13th District of Ohio

Congressman Tim Ryan Supports Bipartisan Nuclear Research and Development Bill

September 14, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) yesterday voted in favor of The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (H.R. 431), bipartisan legislation to bolster nuclear energy research and development. The bill was passed on the Floor with a voice vote.

“I am very pleased to support this legislation, which will help facilitate the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies. The United States has a long history of leadership in nuclear energy – a clean source of energy that can help us confront the looming threat of climate change. The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act promotes cutting edge nuclear technology and helps maintain America’s global leadership in the critical fields of science and energy. This bill plays a critical role in boosting employment at nuclear sites across Ohio, and in transitioning to a clean energy economy,” said Congressman Ryan.

Background:

This legislation directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize research and development (R&D) infrastructure that will enable the private sector to invest in advanced reactor technologies and provides a clear path forward to attract private investment for prototype development at DOE labs.

DOE carries out civilian nuclear energy R&D through the DOE labs and universities which provide research infrastructure and employ highly trained scientists to maintain the nation’s critical R&D capabilities. The U.S. regulatory system, managed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), creates a barrier to investment for advanced reactor technologies because it is ill-equipped to process licenses in a timely and predictable manner, which further suppresses private investment and technology development.  

Summary of Major Provisions

  • Amends DOE’s civilian nuclear energy R&D mission to ensure that the Department enables the private sector to partner with national labs for the purpose of developing novel reactor concepts.
  • Provides programmatic authority for DOE to leverage its supercomputing infrastructure to accelerate nuclear energy R&D capabilities for advanced reactor technologies.
  • Provides statutory direction for a DOE reactor-based versatile neutron source that will operate as an open-access user facility and enable researchers to conduct academic and proprietary research in the United States.
  • Authorizes DOE to enable the private sector to construct and operate privately-funded reactor prototypes at DOE sites.
  • Requires DOE to put forth a transparent, strategic, 10-year plan for prioritizing nuclear R&D programs while considering budget constraints.
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