Alexander: Oak Ridge Corridor Supporting New Advanced Nuclear Reactors

Posted on October 13, 2020

“Nuclear power must be part of our energy future if we want clean, cheap, and reliable energy that can create good jobs. …Government-sponsored research has helped make America the greatest country in the world, and, in fact, much of that is happening right here in the Oak Ridge Corridor.” – Senator Lamar Alexander

MARYVILLE, Tenn., October 13, 2020 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said Oak Ridge National Laboratory will support the development of new advanced nuclear reactors after the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $160 million to two projects as part of the Advanced Reactors Demonstration Program (ARDP).  The new program, which was created last year, is a cost-shared partnership between the federal government and private industry. The funding announced today will support the construction of  two reactors that are intended to be operational in five to seven years.

“Nuclear power must be part of our energy future if we want clean, cheap, and reliable energy that can create good jobs.  To make sure nuclear power has a future in this country, and keep America competitive in a global economy, we need to develop advanced reactors that have the potential to be smaller, cost less, and produce less waste than today’s reactors. We need to stop talking about advanced reactors and actually build something,” Alexander said. “The grants the U.S. Department of Energy announced today will help build two new advanced nuclear reactors to demonstrate the capabilities they may bring, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the capabilities in the Oak Ridge Corridor have an important role to play.”

Alexander serves as the chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. The senator sponsored legislation the Senate passed last year that included $300 million in grant funding as a part of the new Advanced Reactors Demonstration Program.

“Today’s announcement is good news for East Tennessee because X-Energy is using fuel being developed in cooperation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Government-sponsored research has helped make America the greatest country in the world, and in fact, much of that is happening right here in the Oak Ridge Corridor.”

“Oak Ridge Corridor? As president of the University of Tennessee in the late 1980s, I would tout the concentration of brainpower in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area and compare the Oak Ridge Corridor to Massachusetts’ Route 128, North Carolina’s Research Triangle and even California’s Silicon Valley. Some people thought this was a little far-fetched. But 35 years later, the idea of an Oak Ridge Corridor doesn’t seem far-fetched at all, and it’s about time we celebrate it. With such a strong foundation and such strong current leadership, I am betting that during the next 80 years the brand Oak Ridge Corridor will be clearly recognized as one of the most important science and engineering alliances in the world.”

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