Report stresses the importance of nuclear power for long-term national security and energy security
By Lourdes Long
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Nuclear Initiative today released a consensus report, Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Global Nuclear Energy Markets, authored by former U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici and former Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Warren F. “Pete” Miller.
Over the course of the last year, the Nuclear Initiative convened a series of four public events featuring a wide range of experts and stakeholders and aimed at raising the level of dialogue about nuclear energy’s future in the United States. The report summarizes the major insights from each of these events.
- August 2011 – Evolving Nuclear Technology and Regulation: Lessons Learned from Fukushima
- October 2011 – Effective Approaches for U.S. Participation in a More Secure Global Nuclear Market
- March 2012 – Preparing for Deployment of Small Modular Reactors
- June 2012 – Near-Term Progress on Nuclear Waste Management and Implementing the Recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission
The report outlines five strategic goals for maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear energy domestically and internationally and identifies available policy levers to take advantage of key opportunities and overcome current challenges facing nuclear power in the United States.
- Ensuring a strong U.S. nuclear energy sector should be a high priority for federal energy and national security policy. Nuclear energy is critical to maintaining a reliable, affordable, and clean electric power sector and a strong domestic nuclear industry strengthens America’s position in international nonproliferation matters.
- In order to maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear safety and security, the industry and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission should continue efforts to strengthen nuclear plant safety and security, particularly in light of lessons learned from Fukushima.
- A key factor in terms of the outlook for a robust domestic nuclear industry and continued safety performance is progress on the management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel. The administration and Congress should act quickly to implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and launch an effective, long-term strategy for managing and disposing of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high‐level radioactive waste.
- Continued strong U.S. leadership in global nuclear security matters is central to protecting our national security interests. In particular, U.S. leadership in nuclear technology and operations can strengthen U.S. influence with respect to other countries’ nuclear programs and the evolution of the international nonproliferation regime, while also supporting U.S. competitiveness in a major export market.
- Historically, the United States has been a leader in nuclear technology research and commercialization. To extend this tradition and assure further innovation, the United States must continue to support research and development efforts within the nuclear industry, the national labs, and U.S. universities.