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42 U.S. Code § 16279a - Advanced reactor demonstration program

(a) Demonstration project defined

For the purposes of this section, the term “demonstration project” means an advanced nuclear reactor operated in any manner, including as part of the power generation facilities of an electric utility system, for the purpose of demonstrating the suitability for commercial application of the advanced nuclear reactor.

(b) EstablishmentThe Secretary shall establish a program to advance the research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of domestic advanced, affordable, nuclear energy technologies by—
(1) demonstrating a variety of advanced nuclear reactor technologies, including those that could be used to produce—
safer, emissions-free power at a competitive cost of electricity compared to other new energy generation technologies on December 27, 2020;
heat for community heating, industrial purposes, heat storage, or synthetic fuel production;
remote or off-grid energy supply; or
backup or mission-critical power supplies;
identifying research areas that the private sector is unable or unwilling to undertake due to the cost of, or risks associated with, the research; and
(3) facilitating the access of the private sector—
to Federal research facilities and personnel; and
to the results of research relating to civil nuclear technology funded by the Federal Government.
(c) Demonstration projectsIn carrying out demonstration projects under the program established in subsection (b), the Secretary shall—
(1) include, as an evaluation criterion, diversity in designs for the advanced nuclear reactors demonstrated under this section, including designs using various—
primary coolants;
fuel types and compositions; and
neutron spectra;
(2) consider, as evaluation criterions—
the likelihood that the operating cost for future commercial units for each design implemented through a demonstration project under this subsection is cost-competitive in the applicable market, including those designs configured as integrated energy systems as described in section 16272(c) of this title;
the technology readiness level of a proposed advanced nuclear reactor technology;
the technical abilities and qualifications of teams desiring to demonstrate a proposed advanced nuclear reactor technology; and
the capacity to meet cost-share requirements of the Department;
(3) ensure that each evaluation of candidate technologies for the demonstration projects is completed through an external review of proposed designs, which review shall—
(A) be conducted by a panel that includes not fewer than 1 representative that does not have a conflict of interest of each within the applicable market of the design of—
an electric utility;
an entity that uses high-temperature process heat for manufacturing or industrial processing, such as a petrochemical or synthetic fuel company, a manufacturer of metals or chemicals, or a manufacturer of concrete;
an expert from the investment community;
a project management practitioner; and
an environmental health and safety expert; and
include a review of each demonstration project under this subsection which shall include consideration of cost-competitiveness and other value streams, together with the technology readiness level, the technical abilities and qualifications of teams desiring to demonstrate a proposed advanced nuclear reactor technology, the capacity to meet cost-share requirements of the Department, if Federal funding is provided, and environmental impacts;
for federally funded demonstration projects, enter into cost-sharing agreements with private sector partners in accordance with section 16352 of this title for the conduct of activities relating to the research, development, and demonstration of advanced nuclear reactor designs under the program;
(5) consult with—
National Laboratories;
institutions of higher education;
traditional end users (such as electric utilities);
potential end users of new technologies (such as users of high-temperature process heat for manufacturing processing, including petrochemical or synthetic fuel companies, manufacturers of metals or chemicals, or manufacturers of concrete);
developers of advanced nuclear reactor technology;
environmental and public health and safety experts; and
non-proliferation experts;
seek to ensure that the demonstration projects carried out under this section do not cause any delay in the progress of an advanced reactor project by private industry and the Department of Energy that is underway as of December 27, 2020;
establish a streamlined approval process for expedited contracting between awardees and the Department;
identify technical challenges to candidate technologies;
(9) support near-term research and development to address the highest risk technical challenges to the successful demonstration of a selected advanced reactor technology, in accordance with—
paragraph (8);
the research and development activities under section 16272(b) of this title; and
the research and development activities under section 16278 of this title; and
(10) establish such technology advisory working groups as the Secretary determines to be appropriate to advise the Secretary regarding the technical challenges identified under paragraph (8) and the scope of research and development programs to address the challenges, in accordance with paragraph (9), to be comprised of—
private sector advanced nuclear reactor technology developers;
technical experts with respect to the relevant technologies at institutions of higher education;
technical experts at the National Laboratories;
environmental and public health and safety experts;
non-proliferation experts; and
any other entities the Secretary determines appropriate.
(d) Milestone-based demonstration projects

The Secretary may carry out demonstration projects under subsection (c) as a milestone-based demonstration project under section 7256c of this title.

(e) Nonduplication

Entities may not receive funds under this program if receiving funds from another reactor demonstration program at the Department in the same fiscal year.

(f) Authorization of appropriationsThere are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the program under this subsection—
$405,000,000 for fiscal year 2021;
$405,000,000 for fiscal year 2022;
$420,000,000 for fiscal year 2023;
$455,000,000 for fiscal year 2024; and
$455,000,000 for fiscal year 2025.