S. 1457 would specify objectives for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) programs related to the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies. The bill would direct the Secretary of Energy to enter into one or more agreements with nonfederal partners, by September 30, 2028, to implement at least four projects to demonstrate the potential for such technologies to be used in commercial nuclear reactors.
CBO expects that meeting that deadline would require a significant and sustained increase in federal spending relative to current funding for DOE’s nuclear energy programs. Using information from DOE and the nuclear industry, CBO estimates that implementing S. 1457 would cost $4 billion over the 2019-2023 period, and $12.6 billion over the 2019-2028 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. That spending would support a broad range of research and engineering activities necessary to advance nuclear technology as well as activities related to designing, licensing, and implementing demonstration projects under the bill. In 2019, the Congress provided about $1 billion for DOE’s nuclear energy programs.
In addition, CBO expects that the government would support the financing of at least some of the costs to construct demonstration facilities required under S. 1457 through alternative contractual arrangements that are not contingent on further legislation. As a result, CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would increase direct spending by $335 million over the 2019-2028 period. Because enacting S. 1457 would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. S. 1457 would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting S. 1457 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
S. 1457 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.