On November 16, 2009, at the American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) gave a speech titled Nuclear Energy in a Carbon Constrained World that included the following intriguing paragraph:
“I plan to introduce a second bill, to complement Senator Udall’s bill. My new bill would require the Secretary of Energy to develop and demonstrate, in partnership with the private sector, two designs for small modular nuclear reactors – less than 350 megawatts electric in size. The Department would help demonstrate the ability to license these reactors by funding applications to obtain design certification by 2018, and to obtain a combined operating license for each of the designs by 2021. Having certified and licensable designs for small modular nuclear reactors would be a significant boost to the field of nuclear power, and would help nuclear energy be a cost-effective contender for a broader array of carbon-free electric generation needs in the future.
The rest of the talk is also worth reading, but everyone has their own priorities and interest areas. Small modular reactors happen to be one of my primary focus areas, so I thought that paragraph was worth highlighting for future reference.