[USC02] 42 USC CHAPTER 149, SUBCHAPTER IX, Part E: Nuclear Energy
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42 USC CHAPTER 149, SUBCHAPTER IX, Part E: Nuclear Energy
From Title 42—THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARECHAPTER 149—NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY AND PROGRAMSSUBCHAPTER IX—RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Part E—Nuclear Energy

§16271. 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 part.

(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).

(b) Definitions

In this part:

(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 15801 of this title.

(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.

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §951, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 884; Pub. L. 115–248, §2(a), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3154.)

Amendments

2018Pub. L. 115–248 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to civilian nuclear energy research programs and authorizations of appropriations to carry out such programs.

§16272. Nuclear energy research programs

(a) Nuclear Energy Research Initiative

The Secretary shall carry out a Nuclear Energy Research Initiative for research and development related to nuclear energy.

(b) Nuclear Energy Systems Support Program

The Secretary shall carry out a Nuclear Energy Systems Support Program to support research and development activities addressing reliability, availability, productivity, component aging, safety, and security of existing nuclear power plants.

(c) Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative

(1) In general

The Secretary shall carry out a Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative to develop an overall technology plan for and to support research and development necessary to make an informed technical decision about the most promising candidates for eventual commercial application.

(2) Administration

In conducting the Initiative, the Secretary shall examine advanced proliferation-resistant and passively safe reactor designs, including designs that—

(A) are economically competitive with other electric power generation plants;

(B) have higher efficiency, lower cost, and improved safety compared to reactors in operation on August 8, 2005;

(C) use fuels that are proliferation resistant and have substantially reduced production of high-level waste per unit of output; and

(D) use improved instrumentation.

(d) Reactor production of hydrogen

The Secretary shall carry out research to examine designs for high-temperature reactors capable of producing large-scale quantities of hydrogen.

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §952, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 885; Pub. L. 115–248, §2(b)(1), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3155.)

Amendments

2018—Subsecs. (c) to (e). Pub. L. 115–248 redesignated subsecs. (d) and (e) as (c) and (d), respectively, and struck out former subsec. (c) which related to establishment and administration of a Nuclear Power 2010 Program.

§16273. Advanced fuel cycle initiative

(a) In general

The Secretary shall conduct an advanced fuel recycling technology research, development, and demonstration program (referred to in this section as the "program") to evaluate proliferation-resistant fuel recycling and transmutation technologies that minimize environmental and public health and safety impacts as an alternative to aqueous reprocessing technologies deployed as of August 8, 2005, in support of evaluation of alternative national strategies for spent nuclear fuel and the Generation IV advanced reactor concepts.

(b) Annual review

The program shall be subject to annual review by the Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee of the Department or other independent entity, as appropriate.

(c) International cooperation

In carrying out the program, the Secretary is encouraged to seek opportunities to enhance the progress of the program through international cooperation.

(d) Reports

The Secretary shall submit, as part of the annual budget submission of the Department, a report on the activities of the program.

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §953, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 886; Pub. L. 115–248, §2(c), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3155.)

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 115–248 struck out ", acting through the Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology," after "The Secretary".

§16274. University nuclear science and engineering support

(a) In general

The Secretary shall conduct a program to invest in human resources and infrastructure in the nuclear sciences and related fields, including health physics, nuclear engineering, and radiochemistry, consistent with missions of the Department related to civilian nuclear research, development, demonstration, and commercial application.

(b) Requirements

In carrying out the program under this section, the Secretary shall—

(1) conduct a graduate and undergraduate fellowship program to attract new and talented students, which may include fellowships for students to spend time at National Laboratories in the areas of nuclear science, engineering, and health physics with a member of the National Laboratory staff acting as a mentor;

(2) conduct a junior faculty research initiation grant program to assist universities in recruiting and retaining new faculty in the nuclear sciences and engineering by awarding grants to junior faculty for research on issues related to nuclear energy engineering and science;

(3) support fundamental nuclear sciences, engineering, and health physics research through a nuclear engineering education and research program;

(4) encourage collaborative nuclear research among industry, National Laboratories, and universities; and

(5) support communication and outreach related to nuclear science, engineering, and health physics.

(c) University-National Laboratory interactions

The Secretary shall conduct—

(1) a fellowship program for professors at universities to spend sabbaticals at National Laboratories in the areas of nuclear science and technology; and

(2) a visiting scientist program in which National Laboratory staff can spend time in academic nuclear science and engineering departments.

(d) Strengthening university research and training reactors and associated infrastructure

In carrying out the program under this section, the Secretary may support—

(1) converting research reactors from high-enrichment fuels to low-enrichment fuels and upgrading operational instrumentation;

(2) consortia of universities to broaden access to university research reactors;

(3) student training programs, in collaboration with the United States nuclear industry, in relicensing and upgrading reactors, including through the provision of technical assistance; and

(4) reactor improvements that emphasize research, training, and education, including through the Innovations in Nuclear Infrastructure and Education Program or any similar program.

(e) Operations and maintenance

Funding for a project provided under this section may be used for a portion of the operating and maintenance costs of a research reactor at a university used in the project.

(f) Definition

In this section, the term "junior faculty" means a faculty member who was awarded a doctorate less than 10 years before receipt of an award from the grant program described in subsection (b)(2).

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §954, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 886; Pub. L. 115–248, §2(d), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3155.)

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (d)(4). Pub. L. 115–248 substituted "that emphasize" for "as part of a taking into consideration effort that emphasizes".

§16274a. Integrated University Program

(a) The Secretary of Energy, along with the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, shall establish an Integrated University Program.

(b) For the purposes of carrying out this section, $45,000,000 is authorized to be appropriated in each of fiscal years 2009 to 2019 as follows:

(1) $15,000,000 for the Department of Energy;

(2) $15,000,000 for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and

(3) $15,000,000 for the National Nuclear Security Administration.


(c) Of the amounts authorized to carry out this section, $10,000,000 shall be used by each organization to support university research and development in areas relevant to their respective organization's mission, and $5,000,000 shall be used by each organization to support a jointly implemented Nuclear Science and Engineering Grant Program that will support multiyear research projects that do not align with programmatic missions but are critical to maintaining the discipline of nuclear science and engineering.

(Pub. L. 111–8, div. C, title III, §313, Mar. 11, 2009, 123 Stat. 627.)

Codification

Section was enacted as part of the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2009, and also as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, and not as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which comprises this chapter.

§16275. Department of Energy civilian nuclear infrastructure and facilities

(a) In general

The Secretary shall operate and maintain infrastructure and facilities to support the nuclear energy research, development, demonstration, and commercial application programs, including radiological facilities management, isotope production, and facilities management.

(b) Duties

In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall—

(1) develop an inventory of nuclear science and engineering facilities, equipment, expertise, and other assets at all of the National Laboratories;

(2) develop a prioritized list of nuclear science and engineering plant and equipment improvements needed at each of the National Laboratories;

(3) consider the available facilities and expertise at all National Laboratories and emphasize investments which complement rather than duplicate capabilities; and

(4) develop a timeline and a proposed budget for the completion of deferred maintenance on plant and equipment, with the goal of ensuring that Department programs under this part will be generally recognized to be among the best in the world.

(c) Versatile neutron source

(1) Mission need

(A) 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) 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).

(6) Coordination

The Secretary shall leverage the best practices for management, construction, and operation of national user facilities from the Office of Science.

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §955, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 887; Pub. L. 115–248, §2(e), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3156.)

Amendments

2018—Subsecs. (c), (d). Pub. L. 115–248 added subsec. (c) and struck out former subsecs. (c) and (d) which required development of a comprehensive plan for the facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and transmittal of the plan to Congress.

§16276. Security of nuclear facilities

The Secretary shall conduct a research and development program on cost-effective technologies for increasing—

(1) the safety of nuclear facilities from natural phenomena; and

(2) the security of nuclear facilities from deliberate attacks.

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §956, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 888; Pub. L. 115–248, §2(f), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3157.)

Amendments

2018Pub. L. 115–248 struck out ", acting through the Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology," after "The Secretary" in introductory provisions.

§16277. 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.

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §957, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 888; Pub. L. 115–248, §2(g), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3157.)

References in Text

Executive Order 13702, referred to in subsec. (b), is set out as a note under section 5501 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.

Amendments

2018Pub. L. 115–248 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to survey and plan regarding alternatives to industrial radioactive sources.

§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 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) 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

(1) In general

Not later than 180 days after September 28, 2018, 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 10101 of this title);

(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 10101 of this title);

(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 5842 of this title.

(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 2210 of this title (commonly known as the "Price-Anderson Act").

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §958, as added Pub. L. 115–248, §2(h), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3157.)

§16279. Budget plan

(a) In general

Not later than 1 year after September 28, 2018, 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) 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 16275(c), 16277, and 16278 of this title; and

(3) the justification of the Department for continuing or terminating existing civilian nuclear energy research and development programs.

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, §959, as added Pub. L. 115–248, §2(i), Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3160.)

§16280. 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.

(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 16352 of this title.

(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.

(Pub. L. 115–248, §3, Sept. 28, 2018, 132 Stat. 3160.)

Codification

Section was enacted as part of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017, and not as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which comprises this chapter.