The Honorable David Wright, a member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), visited Abilene Christian University’s Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Laboratory (NEXT Lab) Dec. 6 to meet with senior leaders from ACU and Natura Resources.
Wright is the second NRC official to visit NEXT Lab; NRC chair Christopher Hanson came to ACU’s campus in October.
“Having our second visit by an NRC commissioner to spend a day learning about the mission and progress of the Natura Resources-funded work at NEXT Lab confirms the importance of our work at a national level,” said Dr. Rusty Towell, NEXT Lab director and professor of engineering and physics. “Commissioner Wright enjoyed getting to meet everyone involved in the work and was impressed with our progress.”
ACU’s NEXT Lab, sponsored by Natura Resources, is seeking to deploy a molten salt research reactor at the newly constructed Dillard Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC). ACU’s construction permit application is one of only three currently under review with the NRC.
During his time on campus, Wright toured the SERC to learn more about the planned reactor and Natura’s plans to commercially deploy molten salt reactors. Meetings also included conversations with university leadership, NEXT Lab researchers, and students in engineering, physics and chemistry.
“It was great to have Commissioner Wright in Abilene, Texas. We greatly appreciate NRC’s engagement and support of this project,” said Douglass Robison, founder and CEO of Natura Resources.
The NRC is an independent agency of the federal government tasked with protecting public health and safety related to nuclear energy. The agency is headed by five commissioners appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms.