Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, with a group of bipartisan colleagues, today reintroduced legislation to boost nuclear energy innovation and ensure advanced reactors can provide clean, safe, affordable, and reliable power to meet national and global energy needs.
The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) aims to reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy. It would bring together private and public sector innovators to develop next-generation advanced reactor concepts.
“U.S. investors should not need to look to other countries to invest in advanced nuclear technologies,” Bennet said. “If we don’t make a concerted effort now to strengthen our clean energy economy, China, Russia, and others will continue to surpass us. This bill is one step we can take toward ensuring our national security and addressing climate change.”
Advanced reactors are the next generation of breakthrough nuclear technologies that will offer significant advantages for power generation. Some are smaller than today’s commercial reactors and can provide increased reliability and resilience to the grid, as well as off-grid power. Others will utilize exotic fuels, materials, and coolants to decrease the cost of delivered power or provide high-temperature process heat for industrial manufacturing.
Although the United States invented and commercialized nuclear power, our leadership has slipped, creating the need for new policies that encourage opportunities for the industry to design and deploy advanced reactor concepts. NELA will help facilitate the path to market for advanced reactors by allowing the federal government to be an early adopter of commercialized technologies; providing for needed scientific research facilities; demonstrating advanced reactor concepts; breaking down fuel availability barriers when the market cannot; and training the next generation of nuclear scientists.
This bill contains several sections, including:
- Authorization of Long-Term Power Purchase Agreements
- Long-Term Nuclear Power Purchase Agreement Pilot Program
- Advanced Nuclear Reactor Research and Development Goals
- Nuclear Energy Strategic Plan
- Versatile, Reactor-Based Fast Neutron Source
- Advanced Nuclear Fuel Security Programs
- University Nuclear Leadership Program
The bill text is available HERE. A one-page bill summary is available HERE. A section-by-section is available HERE.