U.S. must become “world leader in nuclear power” again

February 15, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe



Two U.S. representatives—Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.)—have published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that calls for the United States to seize “the current nuclear economic opportunity worldwide” and “once again be the world leader in nuclear power.” The congressmen emphasize that “it is in the best interest of the United States and the rest of the world for our country, instead of China and Russia, to be the preferred partner for embarking nuclear nations.”

Atoms for Peace: Fleischmann and Donalds argue that President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in 1953 established the foundational principles for the domestic and global success of the U.S. civil nuclear energy industry—and they urge the nation to reclaim those principles now. They point to the numerous benefits of nuclear energy, ranging from economic development to desalination to sustainable fuel creation, and note that the “global market is ripe for nuclear technology.”

Russia and China: Although the global market is poised for nuclear development, the op-ed notes, most of the current development is coming from Russia and China—not the United States. The congressmen quote statistics from the International Atomic Energy Agency that “up to 70 reactor designs are currently being developed and built in 17 countries around the world—with two-thirds being Russian and Chinese designs.” They also note that “Russia currently dominates the global market for enriched uranium.”

Exports: Fleischmann and Donalds stress the importance of the United States reclaiming global leadership in nuclear energy and unleashing nuclear technology exports so that “we can influence responsible protocols and regulations that govern nuclear safety, security, and safeguards.” In addition, the global and domestic promotion of nuclear energy will help increase prosperity for Americans through “abundant, affordable, and reliable energy.” They point to Department of Commerce statistics suggesting that “every $1 billion worth of U.S. nuclear exports could support up to 10,000 American jobs.”

Positive actions: The Department of Energy funding bill (H.R. 4394) that was passed by the House of Representatives late last year, say Fleischmann and Donalds, is both pronuclear and fiscally responsible. They describe the legislation as having “strong support for (1) developing new nuclear reactor technologies, (2) improving the efficiency and safety of nuclear fuel, and (3) reestablishing our great nation’s domestic uranium enrichment capability.”

In addition to that legislation, they point to congressional action that has “initiated important first steps with financial institutions, including the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, to develop the necessary nuclear expertise” for better deploying U.S. nuclear technology around the world.

The congressman also state that they support various efforts to streamline government regulations and promote the use of advanced computing and modeling techniques to “spur innovative advanced reactor deployment.”

Related Articles