In Bipartisan Moment, House Passes SMR Advancement Bill

The bipartisan-sponsored Advanced Nuclear Technology Act of 2017 and was passed in the House of Representatives with a voice vote on Monday this week, leading the way for passage of other motions that promote nuclear power through rule changes, according to media sources.

IMSR designThe Advanced Nuclear Technology Act (H.R. 590) is a holdover from the previous congressional session. "Advanced nuclear technology will play an important role in helping the United States maintain its role as a global energy leader," said one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Bob Latta, (R-Ohio).

"We believe trailblazing the advance of nuclear energy technology, including Generation Three Plus Small Modular Reactors, Non-Light Water Reactor, advanced reactors and fusion reactors is one of the key imperatives for U.S. market competitiveness,” said David Blee, executive director of the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council.

Modular reactor technology has already had a noteworthy month. In the second week of January, NuScale hand-delivered (it was on a disc) a nearly 12,000-page plans for its small modular reactor design to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for review, a first for the industry. This week, Terrestrial Energy announced it had informed regulatory agency of its plans to license a small modular reactor for commercial use in the United States. The company has said the application for NRC approval would be ready by October 2019. This week's announcement centered on the company's readiness to begin working directly with regulators to prepare that application.

The bill's passed in the House this week are aimed at streamlining the process. NuScale has said it has already spent $500 million preparing its application for a SMR. But regulatory hurdles are a major reason the company estimates the first SMR that it can have running won't be switched on until sometime in 2026.

The American Action Forum estimates that the industry spends $4.2 million every year to keep up with paperwork required by regulators. Plants then spend an average of $14 million on government feels and $4.4 million on security mandates, the Daily Caller reported this week.

How much of that will change during the Trump administration is hard to say at this point. President Trump has said he is pro-nuclear power, but he has not given specific details as to what that entails.

The bill that passed in Congress notes that nuclear power industry “generate(s) billions of dollars in national economic activity,” as well as supplying the country with about 60 percent of its carbon emissions free electricity generation.

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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    With respect, looks more like "pork" for government labs and universities. Also, smacks of an extortion racket as private firms are required to use government labs & universities to get help. We are going to urge Trump to veto a bill that continues the notion that only "big government" is the source of innovation.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    US should do a crash program for MSRs and keep China from walking away with our design and owning global control of cheap, easy to build, nuclear energy.  www.egeneration.org

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Thorium is the answer.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Trump actions are to expand Big Oil, including making president of Exxon/Mobil on his cabinet, and expanding Wall Street influence (6 of his cabinet). Trump advisors want abolish environmental protections, easier for fossil fuel companies to pollute and not clean up.

    Molten Salt Reactors, salt cooled (no high water pressure, no steam containment, no loss of coolant accidents) and molten fueled (over 99% fuel use, vs 2% for LWR solid fuel), demonstrated in 1960s, killed by fossil fuel advisors/funders to USA Congress. Cost less and environmentally safer, than solid fueled water cooled reactors, much less health danger than coal. See liquidfluoridethoriumreactor.glerner.com/