- Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas)
NEICA authorizes the development of a versatile neutron source for advanced reactor testing and directs the Department of Energy to prioritize partnering with private innovators to test and demonstrate advanced nuclear reactor concepts. That includes creating a National Reactor Innovation Center combining the technical expertise at national labs and DOE.
The bill would strengthen partnerships between the private sector and government researchers, an important step in traversing the valley of death that often stops groundbreaking nuclear innovation from becoming commercialized. It also addresses “fast neutrons,” which many of the promising new reactor designs currently being developed will utilize. A versatile neutron source can also allow accelerated research for all new advanced reactors at a time when this R&D capability is only available for civilian use in Russia. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission would also be a partner in the effort, allowing early interactions with developers and potentially leading to the expediting of licensing as the technologies mature toward commercialization.