Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio) and Elaine Luria (D., Va.) last week introduced the Twenty First Century Nuclear Security Act—legislation the sponsors say would “deploy a whole-of-government effort” to gauge the risk to U.S. national security from a growing Russian and Chinese dominance in the global nuclear energy market and to identify opportunities for the United States to reestablish leadership in that arena.
The measure, according to a June 17 joint press release from the lawmakers, would require federal agencies to submit a report to Congress analyzing the importance of civilian nuclear power agreements and opportunities for advancing U.S. national security interests.
A word from the sponsors: “Our country is facing a major challenge to its historical leadership in the global nuclear energy market,” Gonzalez said. “Authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China are actively taking steps to dominate the market and supplant the U.S. as the leader of nuclear technologies. This review will provide us the knowledge and tools to transform our domestic nuclear sector, prevail in the long-term competition against Russia and China, and advance our interests with respect to global nuclear security and nuclear proliferation.”
Lurie added, “It is both an economic and national security imperative that America continue to lead the world in nuclear energy. This bipartisan bill will help us better understand the global nuclear energy market and the strategies we must adopt to out-compete Russia and China.”
Industry’s take: “U.S. commercial nuclear exporters are competing against nations, not companies, because much more than commercial sales are at stake in global nuclear energy markets,” said Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute. “If enacted, the Twenty First Century Nuclear Security Act would illuminate the implications for U.S. national security interests resulting from Russian and Chinese dominance in international markets and the options for restoring U.S. commercial competitiveness and U.S. global nuclear energy leadership.”