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Energy

Nuclear research bill passes in House

by Jessica Morrison
March 7, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 10

The House of Representatives last week passed nuclear energy research and development legislation intended to boost private investment in advanced nuclear reactor technology. The bill (H.R. 4084), designed to expand theoretical and practical knowledge of nuclear physics, chemistry, and materials science, passed unanimously. The legislation would establish a National Reactor Innovation Center through the Department of Energy. The center would lend the expertise of federal laboratories to the private sector. These partnerships are intended to speed the development of advanced nuclear reactor prototypes and technologies. “Advanced nuclear energy technology is the best opportunity to make reliable, emission-free electricity available throughout the modern and developing world,” says Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science & Space Committee and a cosponsor of the bill. “The ability to move innovative technology to the market has been stalled by government red tape.” The bill prioritizes supercomputing for R&D efficiency and makes way for a new fast-neutron source facility. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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