DFC plans to lift ban on nuclear plant financing

June 12, 2020, 2:30PMNuclear News

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has initiated a 30-day public notice and comment period on a proposed change to the agency’s Environmental and Social Policy and Procedures that would allow it to consider support for nuclear power projects, according to a June 10 press release. Currently, DFC is specifically prohibited from offering support for such projects.

Modernizing the policy in such a way, DFC said in the release, would support the agency’s development mandate, bolster U.S. foreign policy, and recognize advances in technology—such as small modular reactors and microreactors—that could make nuclear energy particularly impactful in emerging markets. In addition, the proposed change could offer an alternative to the financing of authoritarian regimes, while advancing U.S. nonproliferation safeguards and supporting U.S. nuclear competitiveness.

Nuclear reaction: "An increasing number of countries around the world that meet DFC’s project criteria are looking to build new reactors or expand existing nuclear energy programs,” said Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer at the Nuclear Energy Institute, in a statement. “Without robust financing to encourage partnership with the United States, well-funded, state-owned enterprises from China and Russia are filling this void. Partnering with U.S. companies would position countries to provide long-term clean, reliable energy for electricity grids, desalination, and other applications. In addition, these partnerships will forge long-term strategic economic and security relationships with the United States that can last 100 years."

Korsnick continued, “We thank DFC CEO Adam Boehler, the DFC board of directors, and the administration for their support and leadership on this milestone decision, which would be a significant step forward for our industry, and we look forward to working together to provide the world with American nuclear technology.”

Background: On its website, the DFC describes itself as “America’s development bank” and states that “DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today.” The agency was established in 2019 through the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 by merging the Overseas Private Investment Corporation with the Development Credit Authority of the United States Agency for International Development.

Nota bene: The public may submit comments by email until July 10.

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