Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act - H.R.431 / S.97

Overview
Purpose
"To enable civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by private and public institutions, to expand theoretical and practical knowledge of nuclear physics, chemistry, and materials science, and for other purposes."
Primary Sponsors
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) / Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Final outcome

President signed S.97 into law, Sept. 28, 2018

Summary of Selected Provisions

Provisions in both bills

  • Directs the Department of Energy to establish a National Reactor Innovation Center through which industry will work with national laboratories to test and demonstrate advanced reactor concepts
  • Directs DOE to establish a fast neutron source user facility
  • Directs DOE to establish a program of high-performance computational modeling and simulation in service of advanced reactor R&D
  • Directs DOE to develop budget plans for civilian nuclear energy R&D that includes the new initiatives

Provisions in the Senate bill only

  • Establishes a cost-sharing program at DOE to assist industry in obtaining licenses for advanced reactors
Actions
Actions on the House bill
Removed from H.R.589, Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act, by Senate amendment
June 23, 2018
Incorporated into H.R.589, Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act
Jan. 20, 2017
Bill introduced
Jan. 11, 2017
Actions on the Senate bill
President signed bill into law
Sept. 28, 2018
House passed bill by voice vote
Sept. 13, 2018
Senate passed bill by voice vote
March 7, 2018
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved bill
March 30, 2017
Bill introduced
Jan. 11, 2017
Relevant FYI Bulletins

Congress sent two bills to the president last week that provide policy direction to the Department of Energy Office of Science and Office of Nuclear Energy, respectively. The House also passed legislation to establish a National Quantum Initiative, which now awaits action in the Senate.

Congress is currently advancing four bills that would support the commercialization of new nuclear reactor designs by enhancing R&D at the Department of Energy and instituting a new licensing framework at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The House energy research and innovation bill would provide the first-ever comprehensive policy guidance to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The House and Senate failed to reach a compromise on a sweeping energy policy bill with numerous R&D-related provisions before the end of the 114th Congress. The effort may be revived in the new Congress, but the character of the bill could change considerably since the Republicans will control the White House as well as both chambers of Congress.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are backing, with near unanimity, a bill that would promote collaboration on research and development of advanced fission and fusion energy reactors across the Department of Energy’s national labs, universities, and the private sector.