Congressman Jim Matheson added language to a bipartisan nuclear energy research bill today that requires the Energy Department to look for ways to minimize water usage in new nuclear power plants. Matheson is a member of the House Science and Technology Committee which today advanced HR 5866--the Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 2010.
"As we seek alternative power sources that lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and address reducing greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power is an important part of our energy future," said Matheson. "Current technology requires large amounts of water, which, in the West, is a scarce and often over-allocated resource. We need to look at alternative cooling methods."
Matheson's amendment would also provide data to assist states with nuclear power plants in identifying alternative cooling mechanisms.
Matheson said the bill advances Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which have the potential to reduce capital costs and the default risk of nuclear energy provides while increasing the safety and reliability of nuclear generation. It also creates a Fuel Cycle R&D program at the Department of Energy that will take a comprehensive approach to waste management.