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House Unanimously Passes Bipartisan Nuclear Energy Bill

Feb 29, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (H.R. 4084), a bipartisan bill to support federal research and development (R&D) and stimulate private investment in advanced nuclear reactor technologies in the United States. The bill was introduced by Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas) along with Full Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The bill passed the House today with unanimous support.

Subcommittee Chairman Weber: “America must maintain our nuclear capabilities, and continue to develop cutting edge technology here at home.  Without the direction provided in this bill, we’ll lose the ability to develop innovative nuclear technology and be left importing reactor designs from overseas. Today, we have the best nuclear engineers and manufacturing capacity in the world at home. We can’t put that expertise at risk. Even more importantly, this bill will maintain America’s capability to influence security and proliferation standards around the world as more developing nations look to nuclear energy to grow their economies.  As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am constantly reminded of the need for American leadership in a dangerous world.”

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

Chairman Smith: “Advanced nuclear energy technology is the best opportunity to make reliable, emission-free electricity available throughout the modern and developing world. Nuclear power has been a proven source of safe and emission-free electricity for over half a century.  Now, America’s strategic investments in advanced nuclear reactor technology can play a more meaningful role to reduce global emissions. Unfortunately, the ability to move innovative technology to the market has been stalled by government red tape.”

H.R. 4084 enables the private sector to partner with national labs for the purpose of developing novel reactor concepts, leverages DOE’s supercomputing infrastructure to accelerate nuclear energy R&D, and provides statutory direction for a DOE reactor-based fast neutron source that will operate as an open-access user facility.  In addition, this bill requires DOE to put forth a transparent, strategic, ten year plan for prioritizing nuclear R&D programs.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act has received letters of support from several Universities and organizations, including: the American Nuclear Society, American Security Project, U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council, Bipartisan Policy Center, American Council for Capital Formation, Clear Path Action Fund, University of Texas System, Texas A&M, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, MIT, General Atomics, TerraPower, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, UPower, TriAlpha, Transatomic Power, Advanced Reactor Concepts, and Dr. Burton Richter, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1976.

Additional statements endorsing the bill can be found HERE.

For additional information on the legislation, please visit the Committee website.

114th Congress