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                                                      Calendar No. 418
115th Congress      }                                    {      Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session         }                                    {     115-251

======================================================================



 
                ADVANCED NUCLEAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES ACT

                                _______
                                

                  May 21, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1457]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1457) to amend the Energy Policy Act of 
2005 to direct the Secretary of Energy to carry out 
demonstration projects relating to advanced nuclear reactor 
technologies to support domestic energy needs, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Beginning on page 2, strike line 9 and all that follows 
through page 4, line 5 and insert the following:

          ``(1) Advanced nuclear reactor.--The term `advanced 
        nuclear reactor' means a nuclear fission or fusion 
        reactor, including a prototype plant (as defined in 
        sections 50.2 and 52.1 of title 10, Code of Federal 
        Regulations (or successor regulations)), with 
        significant improvements compared to the most recent 
        generation of fission reactors, including improvements 
        such as--
                  ``(A) additional inherent safety features;
                  ``(B) a significantly lower levelized cost of 
                electricity;
                  ``(C) lower waste yields;
                  ``(D) improved fuel performance;
                  ``(E) increased tolerance to loss of fuel 
                cooling;
                  ``(F) enhanced reliability;
                  ``(G) increased proliferation resistance;
                  ``(H) increased thermal efficiency;
                  ``(I) reduced consumption of cooling water;
                  ``(J) the ability to integrate into electric 
                applications and nonelectric applications;
                  ``(K) modular sizes to allow for deployment 
                that corresponds with the demand for 
                electricity; or
                  ``(L) operational flexibility to respond to 
                changes in demand for electricity and to 
                complement integration with intermittent 
                renewable energy.
          ``(2) Demonstration project.--The term `demonstration 
        project' means an advanced nuclear reactor operated--
                  ``(A) as part of the power generation 
                facilities of an electric utility system; or
                  ``(B) in any other manner for the purpose of 
                demonstrating the suitability for commercial 
                application of the advanced nuclear reactor.
    ``(b) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to direct 
the Secretary, as soon as practicable after the date of 
enactment of this section, to advance the research and 
development of domestic advanced, affordable, and clean nuclear 
energy by--
          ``(1) demonstrating different advanced nuclear 
        reactor technologies that could be used by the private 
        sector to produce--
                  ``(A) emission-free power at a levelized cost 
                of electricity of $60 per mWh or less;

                                Purpose

    The purpose of S. 1457 is to amend the Energy Policy Act of 
2005 to direct the Secretary of Energy to carry out 
demonstration projects relating to advanced nuclear reactor 
technologies to support domestic energy needs.

                          Background and Need

    Civil nuclear power today relies on light water technology 
that was originally developed in the 1950s for use in U.S. Navy 
submarines. Although there was ample experience in designing, 
constructing, and operating these light water reactors, by the 
1960s scientists were exploring advanced non-light-water 
reactor designs that have potential advantages over light water 
reactors in proliferation resistance, thermal efficiency, 
reliability, fuel utilization, nuclear waste yields, inherent 
safety features, and non-commercial applications. Between 1951 
and 1974, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) experimented 
on light water and advanced non-light-water nuclear reactors, 
taking more than 52 reactors from paper concept to 
demonstration at the AEC's National Reactor Testing Station, 
which is now the Idaho National Laboratory.
    Advanced nuclear technologies face significant challenges 
in research, development, demonstration, and commercialization. 
Competitor nations are rapidly developing and demonstrating 
advanced reactor technologies--especially Russian and China. In 
order for today's ascending nuclear developers to succeed in 
commercializing their technologies, in a globally relevant 
timeframe, significant collaboration between with the 
Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Laboratories will 
be required. This collaboration will require the federal 
government, the research community, and private industry to 
establish audacious, yet attainable, advanced reactor goals. 
Alignment between the three sectors will send a strong and 
coherent signal that the U.S. is serious about re-establishing 
global leadership in nuclear technology.
    DOE has unique authorities under the Atomic Energy Act. The 
DOE is responsible for maintaining nuclear research 
capabilities, knowledge, and a skilled workforce through 
support of nuclear research and development activities.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1457 was introduced by Senators Flake and Booker on June 
28, 2017. The Subcommittee on Energy conducted a hearing on S. 
1457 on October 3, 2017.
    An identical bill, H.R. 5260, was introduced by 
Representative Higgins in the House of Representatives on March 
13, 2018, and referred to the Science, Space, and Technology 
Committee.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on March 8, 2018, and ordered S. 1457 
favorably reported, as amended.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on March 8, 2018, by majority voice vote 
of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1457, 
if amended as described herein.

                          Committee Amendment

    During its consideration of S. 1457, the Committee adopted 
an amendment to the bill. The amendment modifies section 2(a) 
to clarify the definition of ``advanced nuclear reactor'' 
contained in the new section 640(a)(1) to the Energy Policy Act 
of 2005 (Public Law 109-58). The amendment further modifies the 
new section 640(b)(1)(A) to include the levelized cost of 
electricity and lower the amount to $60 per megawatt-hours or 
less. The amendment is further described in the section-by-
section analysis.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth a short title.

Section 2. Advanced Nuclear Reactor And Development Goals

    Section 2(a) amends subtitle B of title VI of the Energy 
Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58) by adding at the end a 
new section 640 titled ``Advanced Nuclear Reactor Research and 
Development Goals.''
    The new section 640(a) provides for definitions of relevant 
terms.
    The new subsection (b) states the purpose of the section.
    The new subsection (c) requires the Secretary to enter into 
one or more agreements to carry out at least four advanced 
nuclear reactor demonstration projects prior to September 30, 
2028. This subsection also specifies requirements for carrying 
out the demonstration projects, including design diversity and 
cost-effectiveness; applying the cost-share requirements 
contained in section 988 of the underlying Act; identifying 
potential sites with the private sector; and aligning specific 
activities with priorities.
    The new section 640(d) directs the Secretary to establish 
goals for advanced nuclear reactor-related research that 
support the program's objectives; coordinate with private 
industry to advance design demonstrations; and ensure that 
research activities and programs meet certain requirements.
    Section 2(b) amends the table of contents of the Energy 
Policy Act of 2005.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The Congressional Budget Office estimate of the costs of 
this measure has been requested but was not received at the 
time the report was filed. When the report is final, it will be 
available at www.cbo.gov.

                      Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 1457.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 1457, as ordered reported.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    S. 1457, as reported, does not contain any congressionally 
directed spending items, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules 
of the Senate.

                        Executive Communications

    The testimony provided by the Department of Energy at the 
October 3, 2017, hearing on S. 1457 follows:

Testimony of Deputy General Counsel Bernard McNamee, U.S. Department of 
    Energy, Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural 
                    Resources Subcommittee on Energy

    Nuclear energy is a key part of our diverse energy mix, 
providing essential reliability and resiliency services for our 
grid. Early-stage research into advanced reactors, including 
advanced small modular reactor technologies (SMRs), is a key 
part of the DOE's goal to enable the development of safe, clean 
and affordable nuclear power options. The Department recognizes 
the potential transformational value that advanced SMRs can 
provide to the Nation's economic, energy security and 
environmental outlook.


           s. 1457, advanced nuclear energy technologies act


    Nuclear energy is clean, reliable, and safe, but the 
nuclear power industry needs to continue to innovate.
    Advanced reactors, including small modular reactors, hold 
great promise as a clean, reliable, and secure power source for 
our nation. The Department recognizes that advanced reactors 
face challenges to ultimately achieving commercialization. 
Accordingly, the Department plans to partner with nuclear 
technology developers, including those involved with existing 
fleet, small modular reactor and other advanced reactor 
designs, in cost-shared early-stage research and development.
    In addition to cost-shared early-stage research and 
development, as well as specific funding opportunities, the 
Administration supports prioritized investments in nuclear 
energy research infrastructure to enable private sector 
innovation.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the original bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing 
law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005 (PUBLIC LAW 109-58)

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE VI--NUCLEAR MATTERS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subtitle B-General Nuclear Matters

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    Sec. 639. Conflicts of interest relating to contracts and 
other arrangements.
    Sec. 640. Advanced nuclear reactor research and development 
goals.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 639. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST RELATING TO CONTRACTS AND OTHER 
                    ARRANGEMENTS.

    Section 170A b. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 
2210a(b)) is amended--
          (1) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as 
        subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively, and indenting 
        appropriately;
          (2) by striking ``b. The Commission'' and inserting 
        the following:
    ``b. Evaluation.--
          ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph 
        (2), the Nuclear regulatory commission''; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following:
          ``(2) Nuclear regulatory commission.--Notwithstanding 
        any conflict of interest, the Nuclear Regulatory 
        Commission may enter into a contract, agreement, or 
        arrangement with the Department of Energy or the 
        operator of a Department of Energy facility, if the 
        Nuclear Regulatory Commission determines that--
                  ``(A) the conflict of interest cannot be 
                mitigated; and
                  ``(B) adequate justification exists to 
                proceed without mitigation of the conflict of 
                interest.''.

SEC. 640. ADVANCED NUCLEAR REACTOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT GOALS.

    (a) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Advanced nuclear reactor.--The term ``advanced 
        nuclear reactor'' means a nuclear fission or fusion 
        reactor, including a prototype plant (as defined in 
        sections 50.2 and 52.1 of title 10, Code of Federal 
        Regulations (or successor regulations)), with 
        significant improvements compared to the most recent 
        generation of fission reactors including improvements 
        such as--
                  (A) additional inherent safety features;
                  (B) a significantly lower levelized cost of 
                electricity;
                  (C) lower waste yields;
                  (D) improved fuel performance;
                  (E) increased tolerance to loss of fuel 
                cooling;
                  (F) enhanced reliability;
                  (G) increased proliferation resistance;
                  (H) increased thermal efficiency;
                  (I) reduced consumption of cooling water;
                  (J) the ability to integrate into electric 
                applications and nonelectric applications;
                  (K) modular sizes to allow for deployment 
                that corresponds with the demand for 
                electricity; or
                  (L) operational flexibility to respond to 
                changes in demand for electricity and to 
                complement integration with intermittent 
                renewable energy.
          (2) Demonstration project.--The term ``demonstration 
        project'' means an advanced nuclear reactor operated--
                  (A) as part of the power generation 
                facilities of an electric utility system; or
                  (B) in any other manner for the purpose of 
                demonstrating the suitability for commercial 
                application of the advanced nuclear reactor.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to direct the 
Secretary, as soon as practicable after the date of enactment 
of this section, to advance the research and development of 
domestic advanced, affordable, and clean nuclear energy by--
          (1) demonstrating different advanced nuclear reactor 
        technologies that could be used by the private sector 
        to produce--
                  (A) emission-free power at a levelized cost 
                of electricity of $60 per mWh or less;
                  (B) heat for industrial purposes or synthetic 
                fuel production;
                  (C) remote or off-grid energy supply; or
                  (D) backup or mission-critical power 
                supplies;
          (2) developing goals for nuclear energy research 
        programs that would accomplish the goals of the 
        demonstration projects carried out under subsection 
        (c);
          (3) identifying research areas that the private 
        sector is unable or unwilling to undertake due to the 
        cost of, or risks associated with, the research; and
          (4) facilitating the access of the private sector--
                  (A) to Federal research facilities; and
                  (B) to the results of research funded by the 
                Federal Government.
    (c) Demonstration Projects.--
          (1) In general.--During the period beginning on the 
        date of enactment of this section and ending on 
        September 30, 2028, the Secretary shall, to the maximum 
        extent practicable, enter into 1 or more agreements to 
        carry out not fewer than 4 advanced nuclear reactor 
        demonstration projects.
          (2) Requirements.--In carrying out demonstration 
        projects under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall--
                  (A) seek to include diversity in designs for 
                the advanced nuclear reactors demonstrated 
                under this section, including designs using 
                various primary coolants;
                  (B) seek to ensure that--
                          (i) the long-term cost of electricity 
                        or heat for each design to be 
                        demonstrated under this subsection is 
                        cost-competitive in the applicable 
                        market; and
                          (ii) the cost-competitiveness of each 
                        design to be demonstrated under this 
                        subsection is verified by an external 
                        review of the proposed design;
                  (C) enter into cost-sharing agreements with 
                partners in accordance with section 988 for the 
                conduct of activities relating to the research, 
                development, and demonstration of private-
                sector advanced nuclear reactor designs under 
                the program;
                  (D) work with private sector partners to 
                identify potential sites, including Department-
                owned sites, for demonstrations, as 
                appropriate; and
                  (E) align specific activities carried out 
                under demonstration projects carried out under 
                this subsection with priorities identified 
                through direct consultations between
                          (i) the Department;
                          (ii) National Laboratories;
                          (iii) traditional end-users (such as 
                        electric utilities);
                          (iv) potential end-users of new 
                        technologies (such as petrochemical 
                        companies); and
                          (v) developers of advanced nuclear 
                        reactor technology.
    (d) Goals.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall establish goals 
        for research relating to advanced nuclear reactors 
        facilitated by the Department that support the 
        objectives of the program for demonstration projects 
        established under subsection (c).
          (2) Coordination.--In developing the goals under 
        paragraph (1), the Secretary shall coordinate, on an 
        ongoing basis, with members of private industry to 
        advance the demonstration of various designs of 
        advanced nuclear reactors.
          (3) Requirements.--In developing the goals under 
        paragraph (1), the Secretary shall ensure that--
                  (A) research activities facilitated by the 
                Department to meet the goals developed under 
                this subsection are focused on key areas of 
                nuclear research and deployment ranging from 
                basic energy to full-design development, safety 
                evaluation, and licensing;
                  (B) research programs designed to meet the 
                goals emphasize--
                          (i) resolving materials challenges 
                        relating to radiation damage or 
                        corrosive coolants; and
                          (ii) qualification of advanced fuels;
                  (C) activities are carried out that address 
                near-term challenges in modeling and simulation 
                to enable accelerated design and licensing;
                  (D) related technologies, such as 
                electrochemical processing or fuel recycling 
                that could reduce nuclear waste volumes or half 
                lives, are developed;
                  (E) infrastructure, such as a versatile fast 
                neutron source or molten salt testing facility, 
                to aid in research are constructed;
                  (F) basic knowledge of non-light water 
                coolant physics and chemistry is improved; and
                  (G) advanced manufacturing and construction 
                techniques and materials are investigated to 
                reduce the commercialization cost of advanced 
                nuclear reactors.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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