The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act includes a comprehensive proposal to fund research, development and accelerated deployment of advanced nuclear energy technologies, the NEI said.
Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, said the bill will help accelerate energy innovation and support startup companies in the US that are investing billions of dollars into these next generation reactor designs.
Among other objectives, the legislation would create a pilot programme to enter into long-term power purchase agreements between the federal government and a utility to buy electricity produced by early deployment of nuclear technologies.
“The [energy] secretary shall give special consideration to power purchase agreements for first-of-a-kind or early deployment nuclear technologies that can provide reliable and resilient power to high-value assets for national security purposes,” the bill says.
NEI president and chief executive officer Maria Korsnick praised the legislation, saying that a comprehensive plan to boost the country’s technological leadership in nuclear is exactly what is needed to help the US compete in today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace.
The bill is the latest in a series of important initiatives addressing near-term and future prospects for nuclear, the NEI said. Numerous states in the last couple of years have acted to preserve at-risk nuclear plants. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, PJM and ISO-New England are re-examining how they compensate and set prices for different generating technologies in light of recent premature nuclear plant retirements.
To become law, the bill would have to be passed by the Senate, along with similar legislation in the House, and then be signed by the president.