Advanced Nuclear Pioneers Assemble at Third Way Summit and Showcase
January 27, 2016
Forum to Discuss a Path Forward for Advanced Nuclear Innovation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Third Way, in partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, today hosted the first ever Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase.
The event brought together policymakers, innovators and investors who are developing advanced nuclear technology. Held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., these experts participated in a series of panel discussions about the latest breakthroughs.
“The Advanced Nuclear Summit symbolizes the monumental progress that has been made over the last decade to develop affordable, reliable, safe, and clean advanced nuclear technology. If commercialized, advanced nuclear can strengthen our grid, help address climate, and maintain a robust domestic nuclear sector,” said Josh Freed, Vice President for the Clean Energy Program.
Balancing climate concerns and the growing energy demands of the developing world is one of the great challenges of the 21st century.
“Advanced nuclear provides a path where we can both lift billions people around the world out of energy poverty and cut carbon emissions at the same time,” said Rachel Pritzker, Founder and President of the Pritzker Innovation Fund, and Third Way Board Member.
In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, represent a new sector for the research, development and design of advanced nuclear reactors. Several companies were on hand at the Showcase (link to photos) to share the latest news related to their projects.
Speakers noted the progress that has been made in recent years to increase the support, development and commercialization of advanced reactors on the part of Congress, the National Regulatory Commission, the Dept. of Energy and the White House.
In November 2015, the Obama administration announced its 2017 budget plan includes $900 million in new funding to support the federal research, development and demonstration efforts in nuclear energy technologies.
Much of this work will be conducted under the U.S. Dept. of Energy Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear or GAIN initiative. The Idaho National Laboratory will serve as private industry’s main point of access to federal experts and facilities.
“There are several different concepts and classes of advanced reactors being pursued and the GAIN initiative helps to create a thriving ecosystem for innovation that fosters private investment and activates the government’s investment in our national labs,” said Mark Peters, Idaho National Laboratory Director.
While these and other announcements illustrate the support around the technology, panelists acknowledged the great deal of work that needs to be done to provide a clear path forward for advanced nuclear innovation in the U.S.
“What the Advanced Nuclear Summit demonstrates is that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions,” said Freed. “The next step, which Washington is already beginning to address in a rare bipartisan moment, is to modernize how the federal government supports private innovation and regulates new nuclear technologies.”
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