Text: S.97 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-248 (09/28/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 248]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 3153]]

                       NUCLEAR ENERGY INNOVATION 
                        CAPABILITIES ACT OF 2017

[[Page 132 STAT. 3154]]

Public Law 115-248
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To enable civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy 
 technologies by private and public institutions, to expand theoretical 
  and practical knowledge of nuclear physics, chemistry, and materials 
  science, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Sept. 28, 2018 -  [S. 97]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Nuclear Energy 
Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017. 42 USC 15801 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Nuclear Energy Innovation 
Capabilities Act of 2017''.
SEC. 2. NUCLEAR ENERGY INNOVATION CAPABILITIES.

    (a) Nuclear Energy.--Section 951 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 
(42 U.S.C. 16271) is amended to read as follows:
``SEC. 951. NUCLEAR ENERGY.

    ``(a) Mission.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall carry out programs of 
        civilian nuclear research, development, demonstration, and 
        commercial application, including activities under this 
        subtitle.
            ``(2) Considerations.--The programs carried out under 
        paragraph (1) shall take into consideration the following 
        objectives:
                    ``(A) Providing research infrastructure to promote 
                scientific progress and enable users from academia, the 
                National Laboratories, and the private sector to make 
                scientific discoveries relevant for nuclear, chemical, 
                and materials science engineering.
                    ``(B) Maintaining nuclear energy research and 
                development programs at the National Laboratories and 
                institutions of higher education, including 
                infrastructure at the National Laboratories and 
                institutions of higher education.
                    ``(C) Providing the technical means to reduce the 
                likelihood of nuclear proliferation.
                    ``(D) Increasing confidence margins for public 
                safety of nuclear energy systems.
                    ``(E) Reducing the environmental impact of 
                activities relating to nuclear energy.
                    ``(F) Supporting technology transfer from the 
                National Laboratories to the private sector.
                    ``(G) Enabling the private sector to partner with 
                the National Laboratories to demonstrate novel reactor 
                concepts for the purpose of resolving technical 
                uncertainty associated with the objectives described in 
                subparagraphs (A) through (F).

[[Page 132 STAT. 3155]]

    ``(b) Definitions.--In this subtitle:
            ``(1) Advanced nuclear reactor.--The term `advanced nuclear 
        reactor' means--
                    ``(A) a nuclear fission reactor with significant 
                improvements over the most recent generation of nuclear 
                fission reactors, which may include--
                          ``(i) inherent safety features;
                          ``(ii) lower waste yields;
                          ``(iii) greater fuel utilization;
                          ``(iv) superior reliability;
                          ``(v) resistance to proliferation;
                          ``(vi) increased thermal efficiency; and
                          ``(vii) the ability to integrate into electric 
                      and nonelectric applications; or
                    ``(B) a nuclear fusion reactor.
            ``(2) Commission.--The term `Commission' means the Nuclear 
        Regulatory Commission.
            ``(3) Fast neutron.--The term `fast neutron' means a neutron 
        with kinetic energy above 100 kiloelectron volts.
            ``(4) National laboratory.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraph (B), the term `National Laboratory' has the 
                meaning given the term in section 2.
                    ``(B) Limitation.--With respect to the Lawrence 
                Livermore National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National 
                Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratories, the 
                term `National Laboratory' means only the civilian 
                activities of the laboratory.
            ``(5) Neutron flux.--The term `neutron flux' means the 
        intensity of neutron radiation measured as a rate of flow of 
        neutrons applied over an area.
            ``(6) Neutron source.--The term `neutron source' means a 
        research machine that provides neutron irradiation services 
        for--
                    ``(A) research on materials sciences and nuclear 
                physics; and
                    ``(B) testing of advanced materials, nuclear fuels, 
                and other related components for reactor systems.''.

    (b) Nuclear Energy Research Programs.--
            (1) In general.--Section 952 of the Energy Policy Act of 
        2005 (42 U.S.C. 16272) is amended--
                    (A) by striking subsection (c); and
                    (B) by redesignating subsections (d) and (e) as 
                subsections (c) and (d), respectively.
            (2) Conforming amendment.--Section 641(b)(1) of the Energy 
        Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16021(b)(1)) is amended by 
        striking ``section 942(d)'' and inserting ``section 952(c)''.

    (c) Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative.--Section 953(a) of the Energy 
Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16273(a)) is amended by striking ``, 
acting through the Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and 
Technology,''.
    (d) University Nuclear Science and Engineering Support.--Section 
954(d)(4) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16274(d)(4)) is 
amended by striking ``as part of a taking into consideration effort that 
emphasizes'' and inserting ``that emphasize''.

[[Page 132 STAT. 3156]]

    (e) Department of Energy Civilian Nuclear Infrastructure and 
Facilities.--Section 955 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 
16275) is amended--
            (1) by striking subsections (c) and (d); and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(c) Versatile Neutron Source.--
            ``(1) Mission need.--
                    ``(A) <<NOTE: Deadline. Determination.>>  In 
                general.--Not later than December 31, 2017, the 
                Secretary shall determine the mission need for a 
                versatile reactor-based fast neutron source, which shall 
                operate as a national user facility.
                    ``(B) Consultations required.--In carrying out 
                subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall consult with the 
                private sector, institutions of higher education, the 
                National Laboratories, and relevant Federal agencies to 
                ensure that the user facility described in subparagraph 
                (A) will meet the research needs of the largest 
                practicable majority of prospective users.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Plan.>>  Establishment.--As soon as 
        practicable after determining the mission need under paragraph 
        (1)(A), the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees 
        of Congress a detailed plan for the establishment of the user 
        facility.
            ``(3) Facility requirements.--
                    ``(A) Capabilities.--The Secretary shall ensure that 
                the user facility will provide, at a minimum, the 
                following capabilities:
                          ``(i) Fast neutron spectrum irradiation 
                      capability.
                          ``(ii) Capacity for upgrades to accommodate 
                      new or expanded research needs.
                    ``(B) Considerations.--In carrying out the plan 
                submitted under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall 
                consider the following:
                          ``(i) Capabilities that support experimental 
                      high-temperature testing.
                          ``(ii) Providing a source of fast neutrons at 
                      a neutron flux, higher than that at which current 
                      research facilities operate, sufficient to enable 
                      research for an optimal base of prospective users.
                          ``(iii) Maximizing irradiation flexibility and 
                      irradiation volume to accommodate as many 
                      concurrent users as possible.
                          ``(iv) Capabilities for irradiation with 
                      neutrons of a lower energy spectrum.
                          ``(v) Multiple loops for fuels and materials 
                      testing in different coolants.
                          ``(vi) Additional pre-irradiation and post-
                      irradiation examination capabilities.
                          ``(vii) Lifetime operating costs and lifecycle 
                      costs.
            ``(4) Deadline for establishment.--The Secretary shall, to 
        the maximum extent practicable, complete construction of, and 
        approve the start of operations for, the user facility by not 
        later than December 31, 2025.
            ``(5) Reporting.--The Secretary shall include in the annual 
        budget request of the Department an explanation for any delay in 
        the progress of the Department in completing the user facility 
        by the deadline described in paragraph (4).

[[Page 132 STAT. 3157]]

            ``(6) Coordination.--The Secretary shall leverage the best 
        practices for management, construction, and operation of 
        national user facilities from the Office of Science.''.

    (f) Security of Nuclear Facilities.--Section 956 of the Energy 
Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16276) is amended by striking ``, acting 
through the Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and 
Technology,''.
    (g) High-Performance Computation and Supportive Research.--Section 
957 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16277) is amended to 
read as follows:
``SEC. 957. HIGH-PERFORMANCE COMPUTATION AND SUPPORTIVE RESEARCH.

    ``(a) Modeling and Simulation.--The Secretary shall carry out a 
program to enhance the capabilities of the United States to develop new 
reactor technologies through high-performance computation modeling and 
simulation techniques.
    ``(b) Coordination.--In carrying out the program under subsection 
(a), the Secretary shall coordinate with relevant Federal agencies as 
described by the National Strategic Computing Initiative established by 
Executive Order 13702 (80 Fed. Reg. 46177 (July 29, 2015)), while taking 
into account the following objectives:
            ``(1) Using expertise from the private sector, institutions 
        of higher education, and the National Laboratories to develop 
        computational software and capabilities that prospective users 
        may access to accelerate research and development of advanced 
        nuclear reactor systems and reactor systems for space 
        exploration.
            ``(2) Developing computational tools to simulate and predict 
        nuclear phenomena that may be validated through physical 
        experimentation.
            ``(3) Increasing the utility of the research infrastructure 
        of the Department by coordinating with the Advanced Scientific 
        Computing Research program within the Office of Science.
            ``(4) Leveraging experience from the Energy Innovation Hub 
        for Modeling and Simulation.
            ``(5) Ensuring that new experimental and computational tools 
        are accessible to relevant research communities, including 
        private sector entities engaged in nuclear energy technology 
        development.

    ``(c) Supportive Research Activities.--The Secretary shall consider 
support for additional research activities to maximize the utility of 
the research facilities of the Department, including physical 
processes--
            ``(1) to simulate degradation of materials and behavior of 
        fuel forms; and
            ``(2) for validation of computational tools.''.

    (h) Enabling Nuclear Energy Innovation.--Subtitle E of title IX of 
the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16271 et seq.) is amended by 
adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 958. <<NOTE: 42 USC 16278.>>  ENABLING NUCLEAR ENERGY 
                        INNOVATION.

    ``(a) National Reactor Innovation Center.--There is authorized a 
program to enable the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts to 
be proposed and funded, in whole or in part, by the private sector.
    ``(b) Technical Expertise.--In carrying out the program under 
subsection (a), the Secretary shall leverage the technical expertise

[[Page 132 STAT. 3158]]

of relevant Federal agencies and the National Laboratories in order to 
minimize the time required to enable construction and operation of 
privately funded experimental reactors at National Laboratories or other 
Department-owned sites.
    ``(c) Objectives.--The reactors described in subsection (b) shall 
operate to meet the following objectives:
            ``(1) Enabling physical validation of advanced nuclear 
        reactor concepts.
            ``(2) Resolving technical uncertainty and increasing 
        practical knowledge relevant to safety, resilience, security, 
        and functionality of advanced nuclear reactor concepts.
            ``(3) General research and development to improve nascent 
        technologies.

    ``(d) Sharing Technical Expertise.--In carrying out the program 
under subsection (a), the Secretary may enter into a memorandum of 
understanding with the Chairman of the Commission in order to share 
technical expertise and knowledge through--
            ``(1) enabling the testing and demonstration of advanced 
        nuclear reactor concepts to be proposed and funded, in whole or 
        in part, by the private sector;
            ``(2) operating a database to store and share data and 
        knowledge relevant to nuclear science and engineering between 
        Federal agencies and the private sector;
            ``(3) developing and testing electric and nonelectric 
        integration and energy conversion systems relevant to advanced 
        nuclear reactors;
            ``(4) leveraging expertise from the Commission with respect 
        to safety analysis; and
            ``(5) enabling technical staff of the Commission to actively 
        observe and learn about technologies developed under the 
        program.

    ``(e) <<NOTE: Memorandum.>>  Agency Coordination.--The Chairman of 
the Commission and the Secretary shall enter into a memorandum of 
understanding regarding the following:
            ``(1) Ensuring that--
                    ``(A) the Department has sufficient technical 
                expertise to support the timely research, development, 
                demonstration, and commercial application by the 
                civilian nuclear industry of safe and innovative 
                advanced nuclear reactor technology; and
                    ``(B) the Commission has sufficient technical 
                expertise to support the evaluation of applications for 
                licenses, permits, and design certifications and other 
                requests for regulatory approval for advanced nuclear 
                reactors.
            ``(2) The use of computers and software codes to calculate 
        the behavior and performance of advanced nuclear reactors based 
        on mathematical models of the physical behavior of advanced 
        nuclear reactors.
            ``(3) Ensuring that--
                    ``(A) the Department maintains and develops the 
                facilities necessary to enable the timely research, 
                development, demonstration, and commercial application 
                by the civilian nuclear industry of safe and innovative 
                reactor technology; and
                    ``(B) the Commission has access to the facilities 
                described in subparagraph (A), as needed.

    ``(f) Reporting Requirements.--

[[Page 132 STAT. 3159]]

            ``(1) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  In general.--Not later than 
        180 days after the date of enactment of the Nuclear Energy 
        Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017, the Secretary, in 
        consultation with the National Laboratories, relevant Federal 
        agencies, and other stakeholders, shall submit to the 
        appropriate committees of Congress a report assessing the 
        capabilities of the Department to authorize, host, and oversee 
        privately funded experimental advanced nuclear reactors as 
        described in subsection (b).
            ``(2) Contents.--The report submitted under paragraph (1) 
        shall address--
                    ``(A) the safety review and oversight capabilities 
                of the Department, including options to leverage 
                expertise from the Commission and the National 
                Laboratories;
                    ``(B) options to regulate privately proposed and 
                funded experimental reactors hosted by the Department;
                    ``(C) potential sites capable of hosting privately 
                funded experimental advanced nuclear reactors;
                    ``(D) the efficacy of the available contractual 
                mechanisms of the Department to partner with the private 
                sector and Federal agencies, including cooperative 
                research and development agreements, strategic 
                partnership projects, and agreements for commercializing 
                technology;
                    ``(E) the liability of the Federal Government with 
                respect to the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, 
                spent nuclear fuel, or high-level radioactive waste (as 
                those terms are defined in section 2 of the Nuclear 
                Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101));
                    ``(F) the impact on the aggregate inventory in the 
                United States of low-level radioactive waste, spent 
                nuclear fuel, or high-level radioactive waste (as those 
                terms are defined in section 2 of the Nuclear Waste 
                Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101));
                    ``(G) potential cost structures relating to physical 
                security, decommissioning, liability, and other long-
                term project costs; and
                    ``(H) other challenges or considerations identified 
                by the Secretary.
            ``(3) Updates.--Once every 2 years, the Secretary shall 
        update relevant provisions of the report submitted under 
        paragraph (1) and submit to the appropriate committees of 
        Congress the update.

    ``(g) Savings Clauses.--
            ``(1) Licensing requirement.--Nothing in this section 
        authorizes the Secretary or any person to construct or operate a 
        nuclear reactor for the purpose of demonstrating the suitability 
        for commercial application of the nuclear reactor unless 
        licensed by the Commission in accordance with section 202 of the 
        Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5842).
            ``(2) Financial protection.--Any activity carried out under 
        this section that involves the risk of public liability shall be 
        subject to the financial protection or indemnification 
        requirements of section 170 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 
        U.S.C. 2210) (commonly known as the `Price-Anderson Act').''.

    (i) Budget Plan.--Subtitle E of title IX of the Energy Policy Act of 
2005 (42 U.S.C. 16271 et seq.) (as amended by subsection (h)) is amended 
by adding at the end the following:

[[Page 132 STAT. 3160]]

``SEC. 959. <<NOTE: 42 USC 16279.>>  BUDGET PLAN.

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  In General.--Not later than 1 year after 
the date of enactment of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act 
of 2017, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology of the House of Representatives 2 alternative 10-year budget 
plans for civilian nuclear energy research and development by the 
Secretary, as described in subsections (b) through (d).

    ``(b) Budget Plan Alternative 1.--One of the budget plans submitted 
under subsection (a) shall assume constant annual funding for 10 years 
at the appropriated level for the civilian nuclear energy research and 
development of the Department for fiscal year 2016.
    ``(c) Budget Plan Alternative 2.--One of the budget plans submitted 
under subsection (a) shall be an unconstrained budget.
    ``(d) Inclusions.--Each alternative budget plan submitted under 
subsection (a) shall include--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: List.>>  a prioritized list of the programs, 
        projects, and activities of the Department to best support the 
        development of advanced nuclear reactor technologies;
            ``(2) realistic budget requirements for the Department to 
        implement sections 955(c), 957, and 958; and
            ``(3) the justification of the Department for continuing or 
        terminating existing civilian nuclear energy research and 
        development programs.''.

    (j) Report on Fusion Innovation.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Energy shall submit to 
        the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and 
        the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
        Representatives a report identifying engineering designs for 
        innovative fusion energy systems that have the potential to 
        demonstrate net energy production not later than 15 years after 
        the start of construction.
            (2) Inclusions.--The report submitted under paragraph (1) 
        shall identify budgetary requirements that would be necessary 
        for the Department of Energy to carry out a fusion innovation 
        initiative to accelerate research and development of the 
        engineering designs identified in the report.

    (k) Conforming Amendments.--The table of contents for the Energy 
Policy Act of 2005 is amended by striking the item relating to section 
957 and inserting the following:

``957. High-performance computation and supportive research.
``958. Enabling nuclear energy innovation.
``959. Budget plan.''.

SEC. <<NOTE: 42 USC 16280.>>  3. ADVANCED NUCLEAR ENERGY LICENSING 
                    COST-SHARE GRANT PROGRAM.

    (a) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Nuclear 
        Regulatory Commission.
            (2) Program.--The term ``program'' means the Advanced 
        Nuclear Energy Cost-Share Grant Program established under 
        subsection (b).
            (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Energy.

[[Page 132 STAT. 3161]]

    (b) Establishment.--The Secretary shall establish a grant program, 
to be known as the ``Advanced Nuclear Energy Cost-Share Grant Program'', 
under which the Secretary shall make cost-share grants to applicants for 
the purpose of funding a portion of the Commission fees of the applicant 
for pre-application review activities and application review activities.
    (c) Requirement.--The Secretary shall seek out technology diversity 
in making grants under the program.
    (d) Cost-Share Amount.--The Secretary shall determine the cost-share 
amount for each grant under the program in accordance with section 988 
of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16352).
    (e) Use of Funds.--A recipient of a grant under the program may use 
the grant funds to cover Commission fees, including those fees 
associated with--
            (1) developing a licensing project plan;
            (2) obtaining a statement of licensing feasibility;
            (3) reviewing topical reports; and
            (4) other--
                    (A) pre-application review activities;
                    (B) application review activities; and
                    (C) interactions with the Commission.

    Approved September 28, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 97:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

SENATE REPORTS: No. 115-115 (Comm. on Energy and Natural Resources).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            Mar. 7, considered and passed Senate.
            Sept. 13, considered and passed House.

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