Fission for the Future Act
S. 3428 & H.R. 7360
The Fission for the Future Act would drive the deployment of advanced nuclear reactors, particularly in communities with retiring or closed fossil fuel power plants.
The Fission for the Future Act will bolster the construction of new nuclear technology by instructing the Secretary of Energy to develop a program that would promote licensing and construction of advanced reactors and their supply chain. The bill would complement provisions in the bipartisan IIJA related to identifying prime locations for advanced nuclear reactors. To meet decarbonization goals, it is important to support the construction of advanced nuclear plants to provide clean, reliable power while creating jobs.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a research and development program to support energy technology and security, such as provisions that direct the Secretary of Energy to support nuclear technology through research and programming. Today, advanced reactors are near-commercial, but targeted federal support can accelerate their deployment by supporting the creation of their supply chain and helping them overcome licensing hurdles. The Fission for the Future Act ramps up support for advanced nuclear energy through a competitive funding program, guided by the Secretary of Energy. It also amends the Energy Policy Act by extending the eligibility of Department of Energy nuclear traineeships for students beyond traditional four year universities to include students in apprenticeships, community colleges, and trade schools. Expanding eligibility beyond universities will accelerate the creation of an advanced nuclear energy workforce, which can deploy these innovative technologies.
The Fission for the Future Act requires the Secretary of Energy to support the construction of advanced nuclear energy and surrounding infrastructure by creating a program that:
- Empowers the Secretary to financially support advanced nuclear projects and the necessary transmission, microgrids, and supply infrastructure using a competitive review process.
- Instructs the Secretary to support nuclear projects with market and environmental analysis, financial and structural models, and other considerations while prioritizing projects at or near fossil fuel plants that are going to be or are already retired.
- Amends the Energy Policy Act to encourage workforce development in nuclear energy beyond graduates of four-year universities to those of apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, community colleges, and trade schools.
A variation of S. 3428/H.R. 7360 was signed into law as part of the CHIPS and Science Act
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL)