Washington, D.C. – Today, the Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to examine research activities and infrastructure within the Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories to advance nuclear energy technology. Witnesses highlighted how the private sector leverages those capabilities for investments with near-term payoff.

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas): “The United States has a national interest in maintaining our position at the forefront of nuclear technology development.  Nuclear energy is in a class of its own with the highest energy density of any fuel, and yields zero emissions. In the United States, we invented this technology and cannot forgo the opportunity to export more efficient and safer reactor systems that will mitigate proliferation concerns and increase global stability by providing reliable energy.”

The DOE currently owns seventeen national laboratories. These government-funded labs provide unique research capabilities to advance scientific research and development. The Department’s open-access user facilities comprise one of its most prominent offerings to enable cutting edge research.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Nuclear energy provides reliable, zero-emission power.  This technology represents one of the most promising areas for growth and innovation to increase economic prosperity and lower the cost of electricity over time. The Department of Energy’s national laboratories provide vital opportunities for the private sector to invest in innovative energy technologies.”

Nuclear energy technology development relies heavily on the capital intensive and unique systems at the national labs, partially because of its technological complexity and also due to the high regulatory cost to license civilian nuclear activities. Witnesses today discussed how DOE can continue to fulfill its mission to enable investment and further research for advanced nuclear energy technology.

The following witnesses testified:

Dr. Mark Peters, Associate Laboratory Director, Energy and Global Security, Argonne National Laboratory
Mr. Frank Batten, Jr., President, The Landmark Foundation
Mr. Nathan Gilliland, CEO, General Fusion
Dr. John Parmentola, Senior Vice President, Energy and Advanced Concepts, General Atomics

For more information on the hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Committee website.