[USC02] 42 USC 16278: Enabling nuclear energy innovation
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42 USC 16278: Enabling nuclear energy innovation Text contains those laws in effect on September 26, 2020
From Title 42-THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARECHAPTER 149-NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY AND PROGRAMSSUBCHAPTER IX-RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENTPart E-Nuclear Energy
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§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 .)