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house Bill H.R. 4084

Should the U.S. Fund More Research of Nuclear Reactor Designs?

Argument in favor

By prioritizing advanced nuclear reactor technologies in the Dept. of Energy’s R&D, this bill makes it more likely that the private sector will develop safer, more efficient reactors that have increased reliability while generating less waste.

DonaldTrump's Opinion
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03/07/2016
“I’m in favor of nuclear energy, very strongly in favor of nuclear energy." [www.dailycaller.com]
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BarackObama's Opinion
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03/07/2016
"As America leads the global transition to a low-carbon economy, the continued development of new and advanced nuclear technologies along with support for currently operating nuclear power plants is an important component of our clean energy strategy." [whitehouse.gov]
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operaman's Opinion
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02/29/2016
There are many new engineering ideas on nuclear reactors. But it's the environmental organizations making noise about radioactive exposure. Clean Nuclear energy sounds good to me.
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Argument opposed

The Dept. of Energy and National Laboratories shouldn’t partner with the private sector to develop advanced nuclear reactor technologies. Those resources should instead go to developing other energy-related technologies.

BernieSanders's Opinion
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03/07/2016
"I do not support more nuclear power plants when we do not know how we get rid of the toxic waste from the ones that already exist." [fastcoexist.com]
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Steven's Opinion
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03/10/2016
I'm for renewable, safer power sources. Not one that creates more problems then it solves with a deadly byproduct that last longer then a few human lifespans.
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Jj's Opinion
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03/01/2016
One word: Fukushima, let's prioritize renewable, sustainable energy sources and not nuclear waste that poisons our planet.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4084?

This bill directs the Dept. of Energy (DOE) to prioritize research and development (R&D) into advanced nuclear reactor technologies by reshaping the objectives of civilian DOE research programs. A greater emphasis would be placed on the following:

  • Providing research infrastructure to promote scientific progress and enable users from academic, the National Laboratories, and the private sector to make scientific discoveries related to nuclear, chemical, and materials science engineering;

  • Enabling the private sector to partner with the National Laboratories to demonstrate novel reactor concepts for the purpose of resolving technical uncertainty associated with program objectives.

The DOE would be directed to carry out a program to enhance the U.S. capability to develop new reactor technologies through high-performance computation modeling and simulation techniques. This program would coordinate with relevant federal agencies through the National Strategic Computing Initiative while taking into account objectives established by this legislation.

By December 31, 2016 the DOE would determine the mission need for a versatile reactor-based fast neutron source that operates as a national user facility. After DOE determines whether there is such a mission need, it would provide Congress with a plan to establish such a facility.

Additionally, the DOE would carry out a program to:

  • Enable the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts proposed and funded by the private sector;

  • Leverage the technical expertise of relevant federal agencies and national laboratories to minimize the time needed to build and operate privately funded experimental reactors at national laboratories or other DOE-owned sites.

Privately funded experimental reactors operated at national laboratories or DOE-owned sites would operate in order to:

  • Enable physical validation of novel reactor concepts;

  • Resolve technical uncertainty and increase practical knowledge relevant to safety, resilience, security, and functionality of first-of-a-kind reactor concepts;

  • Generate research and development to improve nascent technologies.

Within 12 months of this legislation’s enactment, DOE must provide Congress with 3 specified alternative 10-year budget plans for civilian nuclear energy R&D by the DOE.

Impact

Private sector entities researching advanced nuclear reactor technologies; and the DOE.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4084

$0.00
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would not significantly affect the ability of the DOE to carry out programs with its existing funding.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) introduced this bill because R&D into advanced nuclear reactors could lead to nuclear energy becoming an even safer and more efficient energy source:

“The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act directs DOE to prioritize its R&D infrastructure on capabilities that will enable the private sector to develop advanced reactor technologies that could yield inherent safety, less waste, higher thermal efficiency, zero air emissions, increased reliability, and greater resistance to proliferation.”

This legislation was passed by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on a voice vote, and enjoys the support of 28 bipartisan cosponsors — including seven Democrats and 21 Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user dominicotine)

AKA

Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act

Official Title

To enable civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by private and public institutions and to expand theoretical and practical knowledge of nuclear physics, chemistry, and materials science.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed February 29th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedNovember 19th, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    “I’m in favor of nuclear energy, very strongly in favor of nuclear energy." [www.dailycaller.com]
    Like (81)
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    "I do not support more nuclear power plants when we do not know how we get rid of the toxic waste from the ones that already exist." [fastcoexist.com]
    Like (157)
    Follow
    Share
    "As America leads the global transition to a low-carbon economy, the continued development of new and advanced nuclear technologies along with support for currently operating nuclear power plants is an important component of our clean energy strategy." [whitehouse.gov]
    Like (46)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm for renewable, safer power sources. Not one that creates more problems then it solves with a deadly byproduct that last longer then a few human lifespans.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    There are many new engineering ideas on nuclear reactors. But it's the environmental organizations making noise about radioactive exposure. Clean Nuclear energy sounds good to me.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    One word: Fukushima, let's prioritize renewable, sustainable energy sources and not nuclear waste that poisons our planet.
    Like (5)
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    Nuclear power is both renewable and clean. The byproduct, so-called "nuclear waste", can be recycled into nuclear fuel using an advanced reactor. Nuclear reactors emit far less radiation than is already in the background. So no excuse not to add this wonderful energy source to our portfolio.
    Like (5)
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    All options for energy should be on the table.
    Like (4)
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    Unlike renewable energy sources like wind and solar, nuclear energy actually seems to have a long-term cost effectiveness and output. We should look into it more.
    Like (4)
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    Strong, honest man
    Like (3)
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    Nuclear Power can be a successful source of energy if the reactor design is modified. I wrote a simple report on nuclear energy as a young high school student. The issues we have g
    Like (3)
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    Nuclear power is key to implementing the clean power plan. It is the only source of clean, reliable, safe, baseload power.
    Like (3)
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    There is a lot of propaganda and fear around the idea of nuclear energy, we think of "weapons of mass destruction" and "Chernobyl", but that's not the full truth of nuclear energy. Nuclear is one of the LEAST dangerous routes of energy, it's actually less dangerous than solar power!!! It doesn't use large amounts of fossil fuel, which is exactly what we need! I was shocked at first, I have always been for clean energy, but once you research the truth about nuclear energy and see the amazing advantages that other countries like France has had, you cannot deny that this is the way of the future!
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    Nuclear power is one of the more efficient and "clean" energy sources that we have in the modern era. It's even used to power multiple aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. With advancements in safety it can help in lowering emissions and can power whole regions effectively. To disregard nuclear because of "danger" is to ignore the number of catastrophes that have plagued other resources over the years. Similar to ignoring 30,000 car related fatalities in the US alone and blowing out of proportion the aviation related deaths worldwide, which is far smaller.
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    Nuclear energy is the only viable alternative to dirty fuels at the moment. The green path forward can be accomplished right now, we just need to increase funding into the nuclear energy sector. While it is expensive, it works, regulations on nuclear energy are at unprecedented lengths. Because the regulations are so intense it makes nuclear energy way, way safer then is believed. We could save the planet right now, or wait until solar energy gets to the point where it is cheap and affordable.
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    There is a burning need to find clean, natural fuels. Doubling down of "proven" deadly old technology is not the way to go. Our tax dollars should be spent replacing nuclear and fossil fuels... not coming up with ways to make our present technology slightly less deadly to us and our planet (the only one we have...)
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    Nuclear energy is cheap, abundant, and clean if done right. If we can add more clean plants while fixing the preexisting ones and getting them to a higher standard, I don't see why we wouldn't. Nuclear energy itself doesn't have to be toxic, it's just fallen into the wrong hands like so many other things. (Think Monsanto and GMOs)
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    This bill would help innovate pre-existing Nuclear Reactors to maximize efficiency with production and disposal.
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    Let the private sector see if there is a demand.
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    With the need for renewable energy growing, America needs to begin researching nuclear energy again, at the very least. Support for nuclear energy in America has waned every time there's a nuclear accident anywhere in the world but the rest of the world has advanced in both research & implementation. Ideally, we need to replace our current, aging nuclear reactors (most of which are passed ideal operating periods) with Generation 4 reactors which can use the nuclear waste from earlier reactors as fuel; has built-in protections against enriching material (for bombs); have been hardened against (terrorist) attack and, most importantly, has passive (automatic) systems to shutdown the reactor in case of emergencies. America need a host of advancements in nuclear energy, solar energy & wind-powered energy; they all need to be more effective, cheaper & more widespread. Until then, let's take that first, bold step into the future where energy independence is an actual possibility.
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