1 Oct (NucNet): President Donald Trump signed into law new legislation that will speed up the development of advanced reactors in the US, the Department of Energy said on 28 September 2018.
According to the DOE, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) eliminates some of the financial and technological barriers standing in the way of nuclear innovation.
It represents a strong commitment by the government to support the commercial nuclear sector, ensuring that the US maintains its leadership around the globe, the DOE said.
The DOE said the legislation will help offset some of the upfront costs of licensing new reactors. It calls for a cost-share grant programme to cover a portion of the licensing fees charged by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission during its review process for new reactor technologies.
The legislation also directs the DOE to move forward with plans to develop a fast test reactor to accelerate the development of advanced reactor fuels and materials.
This capability does not exist in the US and is needed to test new reactor materials and fuels for use in advanced reactors.
The bill directs the DOE to allow the siting of advanced reactor research demonstration facilities through partnerships between the DOE and private industry.
Finally, the bill requires the DOE to expand its high-performance computing expertise by focusing on the modelling and simulation of advanced nuclear reactors to accelerate their development.
The DOE said national labs, universities and the private sector will help develop new software and tools for developers to use to speed up their research on fission and fusion reactors, in addition to space applications.
Energy secretary Rick Perry now has 180 days to provide Congress with a report assessing the DOE’s capabilities to host and operate experimental advanced nuclear reactors at the national labs or other DOE sites.
Mr Perry will also submit two 10-year budget plans for nuclear R&D.