The U.S. Department of Energy will invest $65 million in nuclear technology advancement, the department announced Thursday. Idaho National Laboratory is expected to be one of the beneficiaries of that spending. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and Gov. Brad Little visited the INL site on Monday in relation to the announcement.
Brouillette was not made available for questions from local media.
“Advancing the next generation of nuclear energy is paramount to ensuring reliable, clean electricity for the American people. If we are serious about making substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then emissions-free nuclear energy must be a part of that conversation,” said Brouillette in a press release. “The Trump Administration recognizes the importance of nuclear energy, and through these 93 projects spread across 28 different states, we remain wholly committed to revitalizing our most reliable form of energy.”
The $65 million will go toward “nuclear energy research, cross-cutting technology development, facility access, and infrastructure awards for 93 advanced nuclear technology projects in 28 states,” the release said. University-led nuclear energy research and development projects will receive the largest portion, with $55 million going toward their programs.
Brouilette plans to hold a press conference on Monday at which time he will provide more details on the DOE’s investment. The amount of direct funding to INL was not disclosed.
In conjunction with Brouillette’s visit to INL, U.S. Reps. Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson, introduced the Integrated Energy Systems Act of 2020 on Thursday as well. Part of the bill’s intention is to “ensure that the Department of Energy is not duplicating research efforts throughout the energy industry.” Simpson was an original cosponsor of the House bill.
This bill is the House companion bill to U.S. Sen. Jim Risch’s Senate bill, the Integrated Energy Systems Act, which also is cosponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, that was introduced earlier this Congress.
A press release from Fulcher’s office laid out what the bill is seeking to do:
— Increase innovative research into new fuels that go beyond traditional nuclear production facilities
— Increase grid integrity and reliability by allowing innovative research on baseload power sources
— Increase efficiencies of the regulatory review process to speed up the permitting process and lower costs of nuclear development
— Decrease carbon emissions by forwarding nuclear development in the United States and Idaho”