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Laboratory experts help states learn more about advanced nuclear deployment

April 24, 2023

By Donna Kemp Spangler

Idaho National Laboratory is poised to lend its deep bench of experts to a new resource for states wanting to learn more about advanced nuclear energy deployment.

The Advanced Nuclear State Collaborative, launched in February, has already received interest from 23 states. Now states have a platform for peer-to-peer discussions and one-stop easy access to experts, including those at the nation’s nuclear energy laboratory and its partners through the INL-led Emerging Energy Markets Analysis (EMA) team.

“The benefit to joining the collaborative is the shared technical assistance and collaboration to expand understanding of the issues state energy offices and public utility commissions will need to consider when making new nuclear reactors a reality,” said Kiera Zitelman, technical manager with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Center for Partnerships and Innovation. “We hope regulators and energy officials will learn from their peers across the country.”

The collaborative is a partnership between NARUC and the National Association of State Energy Officials, and it receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy through the Department of Energy-NARUC Nuclear Energy Partnership. It will convene in person for the first time in April.

Paul Kjellander, a former member of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and past president of NARUC, said the Advanced Nuclear State Collaborative would benefit from INL-led analysis. EMA is a collaboration between INL, University of Michigan, University of Wyoming, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Alaska and Boise State University. The group is dedicated to advancing understanding of emerging energy markets.

“By working with INL, the Advanced Nuclear Energy State Collaborative has access to not just top technical experts at the national lab, but the partners of the lab – which opens up even broader perspectives that stakeholders seek,” Kjellander said. “That’s a powerful combination to help state stakeholders make informed, holistic energy decisions.”

Steven Aumeier, senior advisor of strategic programs for INL’s Nuclear Science and Technology directorate, said this arrangement provides states with access to a range of informed perspectives involving technology, regulatory issues, economic implications and other considerations involving advanced nuclear energy.

“The EMA team provides an internationally recognized base of experience spanning technology, legal, social equity, regulatory, business and other areas of key importance in making energy decisions,” he said. “It’s a tremendous resource for those seeking to decide what their energy-driven economic future may look like.”

Numerous states have passed laws, initiated studies, or taken other actions to consider deploying advanced reactors. The Advanced Nuclear State Collaborative plans to convene members from interested states to participate in peer-sharing forums, site visits and in-person as well as virtual meetings that help those states prepare for the potential deployment of advanced nuclear energy. The collaborative’s efforts will address the information gaps and challenges that states are facing.

This effort will give states tools to address not just the financial and technical aspects of nuclear energy deployment, but also understand the economic and societal values it brings to a clean economy, Kjellander added.

“This will help develop a robust repository of information, ideas, and partnerships that benefits states headed toward advanced nuclear deployment.”


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About Idaho National Laboratory

Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development, celebrating 75 years of scientific innovations in 2024. The laboratory performs research in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and the environment. 

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Posted April 24, 2023

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