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Restoring U.S. Leadership in Nuclear Energy

A National Security Imperative

The CSIS Commission on Nuclear Energy Policy in the United States

America’s nuclear energy industry is in decline. Low natural gas prices, financing hurdles, failure to find a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste, reactions to the Fukushima accident in Japan, and other factors are hastening the day when existing U.S. reactors become uneconomic. The decline of the U.S. nuclear energy industry could be much more rapid than policy makers and stakeholders anticipate. China, India, Russia, and others plan on adding nuclear technology to their mix, furthering the spread of nuclear materials around the globe. U.S. companies must meet a significant share of this demand for nuclear technology, but U.S. firms are currently at a competitive disadvantage due to restrictive and otherwise unsupportive export policies. Without a strong commercial presence in new markets, America’s ability to influence nonproliferation policies and nuclear safety behaviors worldwide is bound to diminish. The United States cannot afford to become irrelevant in a new nuclear age. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / Center for Strategic & International Studies
Pages: 86Size: 8 1/2 x 11
978-1-4422-2511-4 • Paperback • July 2013 • $53.00 • (£37.95)
978-1-4422-2512-1 • eBook • July 2013 • $52.99 • (£37.95)
Series: CSIS Reports
The CSIS Commission on Nuclear Energy in the United States is made up of senior public and private sector officials from across the political spectrum who agree that nuclear energy is an important part of this country’s energy mix and that the United States is losing ground as other countries proceed with planned expansions of their nuclear sectors.
The long-standing Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) utilizes a full-time staff and affiliated scholars to develop strategic insights related to defense and national security, and this report focuses on the need for a strong nuclear industry to allow the country to maintain leadership in this area. Since the US has more than 100 operating nuclear power plants and the US Navy maintains a fleet of 83 nuclear-powered vessels, it might be expected that the US would maintain production of low-enriched reactor fuel. The report notes that all but one of the US-based nuclear reactor designers and manufacturers are now owned by foreign competitors that are increasing their nuclear capabilities. CSIS analysts highly recommend that the US compete in the global nuclear marketplace by negotiating agreements that its trading partners can accept. Current US export policies hinder the ability of US firms to supply nuclear technology, fuel, and service. The design and construction of small modular reactors now under development by American firms and the Department of Energy may provide great opportunities for expanded foreign sales and increased international cooperation. This brief report is an interesting overview of the various issues related to nuclear energy. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic, general, and professional collections.