USA urged to adopt global strategy on advanced nuclear power

16 February 2021

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) and Partnership for Global Security (PGS), two US think tanks, today released a joint report defining a comprehensive strategy for the USA to become the global leader in advanced nuclear power. They said the strategy outlines the domestic and international activities that will be required to ensure the USA can lead in the development and deployment of next generation nuclear technologies through collaboration between government, industry, civil society, and other nations.

At the domestic level, the strategy explores how public-private partnerships can drive innovation to commercialise advanced reactor technologies, they said, adding that the Biden Administration and Congress have critical roles to play in leading government innovation efforts and funding demonstration projects. Internationally, the strategy highlights how advanced nuclear energy "can be imbued into US foreign policy and international relations", they added.

Organisations that generally endorse the strategy and the importance of advanced reactors include, they said: American Nuclear Society, Bipartisan Policy Center, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, ClearPath, Energy Innovation Reform Project, Good Energy Collective, Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization, and Third Way.

"Clean energy technologies including advanced nuclear energy are essential to meet mid-century emission reductions goals," NIA Executive Director Judi Greenwald said. "It will take a whole-of-society effort to address climate change and to fulfil advanced nuclear energy’s promise as a climate solution. This report’s high-level recommendations for government, industry and civil society are a starting point."

Ken Luongo, president of the Partnership for Global Security, added: "The intersection of climate change, nuclear power, and global security is an important and dynamic policy area and this report advances the actions required to manage that nexus. The US must again become a leader in the international nuclear market if it is to ensure that the next generation of nuclear technologies support effective global security by reducing climate impacts, responding to the need for clean energy growth, and ensuring strong global best practices for security and non-proliferation."

According to the report - US Advanced Nuclear Energy Strategy for Domestic Prosperity, Climate Protection, National Security, and Global Leadership - continued bipartisan efforts are needed to support the domestic industry, regulatory reform, and global competitiveness. Additional actions are needed to: ensure sufficient appropriations for federal investment and public-private partnerships during the 2020s; continue executive and regulatory efforts to reduce market barriers and modernise regulation for advanced reactors, while protecting public health, safety, and security; assist entrepreneurs and coordinate their activities with government research; incentivise development of new nuclear fuels while also addressing legacy uranium mining pollution and nuclear waste issues, including investing in clean-up activities and pursuing consent-based solutions.

Craig Piercy, CEO and executive director of the American Nuclear Society, said: "By unleashing the next wave of nuclear technologies, the US can decarbonise the power grid at a faster and more affordable pace without sacrificing our prosperity or security. American nuclear engineers and scientists are ready to design, construct and operate tomorrow’s advanced reactors."

Addison Killean Stark, associate director for energy innovation at Bipartisan Policy Center, added:  "For the United States - let alone the world - to meet mid-century climate goals we will need an array of new zero-carbon energy technologies including advanced nuclear reactors for power and industrial heat generation. This report lays out a blueprint for America to become the global leader of this clean industry of the future."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News