Earlier this month, Representatives Conor Lamb (PA-17) and Dan Newhouse (WA-4) introduced H.R. 6097, the Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act (NERDA). This bipartisan bill supports the role of existing and future nuclear technology to achieve national and international decarbonization goals and CATF welcomes its introduction. CATF considers nuclear energy to be potentially an important component of a zero carbon economy; the sustainability, research, and development provisions of NERDA support America’s role in low carbon energy technology both at home and abroad. Last week, NERDA passed favorably out of the Energy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and a mark-up in the full Committee is expected soon.
Last year, CATF welcomed the introduction of the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) and NERDA builds upon many of those same provisions while including additions. NELA and NERDA both:
- Set goals to demonstrate advanced reactors by the end of 2027 (NELA sets the initial date as 2025) and the end or 2035;
- Support the construction and deployment of the Versatile Test Reactor;
- Support the commercial availability of high-assay, low enriched uranium; and,
- Support a nuclear university leadership program.
In addition to the above, NERDA also supports:
- The Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program;
- A hybrid energy systems research and development program;
- Used nuclear fuel research and development;
- Advanced fuel research and the Accident Tolerant Fuel program;
- The nuclear energy university program;
- International nuclear energy cooperation; and,
- Encourages cross-cutting programs across agencies and labs on improving research and developing new projects.
NERDA aims to allow the United States to retake a leading role in nuclear energy technologies. CATF congratulates representatives Lamb, Newhouse on the bill’s introduction, and the members of the Energy Subcommittee House Science, Space, and Technology Committee for passage out of the subcommittee of NERDA and supports its eventual enactment into law. CATF urges the House Energy and Commerce Committee to follow suit and move forward the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) provisions of NELA. The swift passage of NELA’s PPA provisions would complement NERDA and allow for long-term certainty that advanced reactors can play a role in zero carbon power generation.