U.S. Sen Ted Cruz made a stop in Abilene to visit ACU’s NEXT Lab while on a tour of cities across the state.
Cruz met with members of the university’s faculty and administration at the Halbert-Walling Science Center to talk about clean energy and NEXT Lab’s pioneering advancements.
“It’s been great to visit with the leadership at ACU and to talk about the exciting research into nuclear power and using molten salt potentially to generate electricity in a way that is cleaner, safer and more reliable,” Cruz said. “Texas has always been on the cutting edge of energy. Texas is a state of pioneers and energy entrepreneurs and the exciting work at ACU on nuclear energy for the future is a powerful embodiment of that long Texas tradition.”
Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, joined Cruz to discuss the NEXT Lab’s next steps in working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as legislation.
“We’re in the process of working through our licensure process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which involves a number of steps, and we’ll be filing some significant documentation within the application process in February, which will then kick off a formal review,” Schubert said. “We’ve already been working with the NRC for the past year and completed steps in that process, but that’s the process we’re focused on currently so we wanted to make sure that the senator was aware of that as well as any legislation that deals with advanced nuclear and the ability for ACU to benefit from that legislation.”
Cruz also was able to tour the lab, and students presented a small demonstration of some of their research.
“It was a big deal for them,” Schubert said. “They showed off a little bit in some of their labs, poured out some molten salt, and did a few things with a flame so it was neat to have [Cruz] here and him be so impressed with their work.”
Schubert said it was an honor to have Cruz visit campus and hopes his influence can help move along the NEXT Lab’s energy research.
“He’s obviously interested in the future of energy for our country and the certain role Texas is playing in pioneering advancement and moving forward,” Schubert said. “He recognized ACU is at the forefront of that initiative so they asked if they could make a visit. We gave them an overview of the work going on in the NEXT Lab where we are currently and anticipated next steps and how the senator’s office and his influence might be helpful in pushing the agenda forward.”