Renewing America’s commitment to nuclear energy
Today, nuclear energy produces 20 percent of America’s electricity, but it’s increasingly sidelined in our domestic energy portfolio.
Our domestic plants are aging rapidly. Five have closed in recent years. At the start of this year, four new reactors were under construction at two psure
lants: two in South Carolina and two in Georgia. The South Carolina project has since come to a halt because of mounting delays and regulatory hurdles.
To realize our full energy potential, we need a renewed commitment to domestic nuclear energy. It’s a win for our economy because it will create jobs and capital. On top of that, it’s an emission-free energy source that has bipartisan support. Most importantly, it’s a matter of national security. While America has faltered in its commitment to nuclear, Russia and China have been on the move.
Two years ago, Reuters reported that Rosatom – a state-owned Russian nuclear energy export agency – had 29 reactors under construction around the globe. Russia collected billions in nuclear export revenues in 2015, and last year it exported $133 billion worth of nuclear goods and services.
China’s rise is equally, if not more, concerning.
This year alone, China has announced nuclear deals with multiple African nations. Chinese firms are building reactors in Pakistan and Great Britain. China is currently building 20 reactors at an average of one new reactor every five months. That’s why U.S. Energy Information Administration has predicted China will surpass America as the world’s largest nuclear energy producer in just 15 years.
Experts and leaders on both sides of the aisle agree we cannot allow that to happen.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge recently wrote, “When other nations buy Russian and Chinese nuclear exports – as they increasingly do – Moscow and Beijing, not Washington, set the standards.”
The Center for Strategic and International Studies has said, “Without a strong commercial presence in new nuclear markets, America’s ability to influence nonproliferation policies and nuclear safety behaviors worldwide is bound to diminish.”
Former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz published a study this year calling nuclear a “key national security enabler.”