drum of uranium yellow cake
Uranium oxide "yellowcake" is processed from uranium ore before enrichment.

President Biden recently signed off on the FY2024 spending bill, which included more than $50 billion dollars for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  

The funding will lead to the creation of thousands of good-paying jobs across the country as we work to develop clean, affordable, and secure sources of American energy that will help address the climate crisis.   

A key piece to that puzzle will be our ability to build and deploy new reactor technologies, and this historic spending bill will literally fuel those efforts as we work to triple the nation’s nuclear capacity by 2050.  

Securing a domestic fuel supply 

The FY2024 spending bill includes more than $1.68 billion for the Office of Nuclear Energy’s research and development activities. 

Pivotally, $2.72 billion was also provided to build out our advanced nuclear fuel supply chain. This historic funding will increase our domestic enrichment capacity to meet the needs of our operating fleet, that of our allies, and future reactor designs. 

It also makes more high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) available for DOE’s two demonstration projects with X-energy and TerraPower, and will help support other industry partners that require HALEU material to further test, develop, or deploy their reactor designs.  

This is a historic turning point for investments in nuclear energy and it underpins our nation’s contribution to a multilateral commitment at COP28 to establish a resilient global uranium supply market that is free from Russian influence

This is the strongest possible signal the U.S. government can send to industry to give them the confidence they need to invest in increasing their uranium enrichment capacity. 

This took years of bipartisan work and the passage of multiple authorizing and funding bills to reach this day. And now that we are here, we promise to implement this funding quickly to increase our nuclear fuel supply over the next few years.  

This is a big win for the climate, energy security, our economy, national security, and the American people.  

Demonstrating new reactors 

In addition to the fuel supply chain funding, the spending bill also includes more than $800 million for DOE to demonstrate two advanced light-water reactor systems in the United States and $100 million for competitive awards to support the advanced light-water reactor supply chain. 

These smaller-sized reactors are based on the existing light-water systems in operation today but will use enhanced safety designs that can automatically shut the reactor down without operator action.  

The simplified designs use more modern instrumentation and controls and will also require fewer materials that promise to reduce the capital costs of building them. 

The projects will be managed by DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations. An announcement on the two cost-shared awards is expected late next year.  

Workforce Development 

Finally, another key driver in successfully deploying new nuclear reactors will be a robust workforce.  

The spending bill directs $100 million to help identify, develop, and implement new safety training programs at universities, trade schools, and 2-year colleges. 

This will help address the growing need for a diverse workforce capable of effective and equitable development of advanced nuclear energy technologies.  

Stay tuned. Things are really starting to heat up for nuclear energy!