WASHINGTON –(ENEWSPF)–January 28, 2016. The U.S. Senate today overwhelmingly approved an amendment, introduced by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), that would increase collaboration among private industry, universities and national laboratories, such as Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill., to facilitate the development of advanced nuclear technologies. The amendment, approved 87-4, will be a part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act, expected to be voted on next week. It is estimated that Illinois generates 51 percent of its electricity from nuclear sources, and more than 90 percent of Illinois’ carbon-free electricity is provided by nuclear energy plants.
“Nuclear energy is a proven, clean, reliable, and affordable form of energy, capable of providing for the demands of a rapidly growing population,” said Senator Kirk. “Illinois’ own Argonne National Laboratory leads the nation in nuclear expertise and stands ready to contribute to the next generation of American nuclear energy.”
“This vote demonstrates the commitment in the Senate to a long-term future for nuclear power production and research opportunities,” Senator Crapo said. “This vote recognizes the many contributions to technology and research from the experts at the INL and our other partner national laboratories. It demonstrates that, despite some of the government-caused challenges faced by the current fleet of reactors, nuclear energy is a vital part of a national, varied, approach to energy production.”
The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), S. 2461, directs the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to partner with private innovators on new reactor technologies and the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts.
This measure will support research and development of the next generation of nuclear energy at national labs, like Illinois’ Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont. Argonne leads the nation in innovation and development of new nuclear technologies, and collaborates with more than 600 companies, agencies and institutions around the world. More than 3,400 people are employed by the lab.
The amendment is cosponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).