The House could vote at any time on HR-1158, to authorize the Department of Energy and its national laboratories to increase collaboration with non-federal entities for research and technology exchange projects.
The legislation would authorize the labs to continue to engage in Agreements for Commercializing Technology, a pilot program, and would authorize them to enter into certain agreements prior to approval by the department. It also would require the department and the GAO to report on nuclear energy innovation and the result of new partnerships created by the legislation.
According to a summary of the bill, under current law the agreements affected by the legislation require Energy laboratories to obtain insurance for any contract that creates a partnership with a third party. In certain situations, the labs may be reimbursed for the cost of liabilities not covered by insurance. Implementing the legislation would likely increase the number of partnerships with national laboratories, increasing potential reimbursement payments to lab directors, it said.
In the past those reimbursements have been made with funds from the Department of Energy’s existing appropriations, it said.