Yesterday, in Part I, we examined the status and provisions of bills in the House affecting nanotechnology, nanoindustries, or nanobusiness. Today in Part II, we turn to the Senate.

S. 596, the "Nanotechnology Innovation and Prize Competition Act of 2009", was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (Dem-OR) on 03/16/2009. The bill directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a program to award prizes for achievement in one or more applications of nanotechnology, (environmental, development of alternative energy sources and fuels, health, and development of consumer products). A board would be established to administer the prizes.

The bill was refered to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; to date, no hearings have been held and none are scheduled in the near future. The bill remains in committee.

S. 1233, the "SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2009", was introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (Dem – LA) on 06/10/2009 and was refered to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which reported it out of committee with an amendment in the nature of a substitute on 07/02/2009. For a further discussion of S. 1233, please see the discussion of HR 2965 in Part I.

S. 1482, the "National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2009", was introduced by Senator John Kerry (Dem – MA) on 07/21/2009 and was refered to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. No hearings have been held and none are scheduled. S. 1482 would reauthorize and amend the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act.  Significant amendments to the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act include:

Sponsorship by the National Nanotechnology Program (NNP) of Nanotechnology Education and workforce development programs

Support by the NNP of the development of standardized reference materials, instruments, and computational tools

Participation in national and international organizations developing commercialization and regulatory guidelines and standards

Coordination of research to determine what health, safety and environmental risks nanoparticles and nanomaterials may pose

The Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office would be charged with developing and maintaining a publicly accessible and keyword seachable database of projects funded by the Nanoscale  Science, Engineering and Technology subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council. This is somewhat similar to the database proposed in HR 554 which was discussed in Part I.

Establish a sub panel on societal, ethical, legal, environmental and workforce concerns.

As with HR 820, an associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy would be designated as the Coordinator for Societal Dimensions of Nanotechnology. The Coordinator’s duties would include ensuring that a research plan is developed, updated annually, implemented and responsive to the recommendations of the sub panel mentioned above. The Coordinator, within sixty days of S. 1482’s enactment date, would be required to convene a panel to create a research plan for the environmental, health and safety program. This plan would include a description of how the NNP would insure the development of the standards and standardized reference materials also refered to above.

The Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, no later than six months following enactment, would convene national discussions to encourage both stakeholders and non-stakeholders to express their concerns and priorities regarding nanoproducts, research and development and regulatory policy affecting nanotechnology. The Director would be required to submit a report summarizing these discussions to the Congressional committees that have oversight responsibilities in this area, namely the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Science and Technology.

SA (Senate Amendment) 1472 was part of a bloc of amendments offered by Senator Carl Levin (Dem-MI) to amend S. 1390, "The National Defense Authorization Act of 2010", and amended the reporting requirements for the Defense Nanotechnology Research and Development Program. The complete text of the amendment is below:


(Purpose: To modify the reporting requirement for the defense nanotechnology research and development program)

    At the end of subtitle D of title II, add the following:


    Section 246 of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-314; 10 U.S.C. 2358 note) is amended by striking subsection (e) and inserting the following new subsection (e):

    “(e) Reports.–The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics shall submit to the National Science and Technology Council information on the program that covers the information described in paragraphs (1) through (5) of section 2(d) of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (15 U.S.C. 7501(d)) to be included in the annual report submitted by the Council under that section.”

As with the majority of the House bills, the Senate bills remain in committee. Considering the focus of Congress on health care reform, financial regulatory reform, and various appropriations bills that need to be passed before the end of the 1st Session, when and if these bills are reported out and voted on is unknown. We’ll continue to track these bills and others affecting nanotechnology that may be introduced in the future. At the end of the 1st Session of the 111th Congress, two more articles updating these will be posted to this site.