Later this morning, I will be testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on The Future of International Civilian Nuclear Cooperation. Having spent several decades around the world working for Westinghouse, I've seen first-hand how international nuclear commerce can help support American influence abroad as well as create jobs and economic growth back home.
NEI believes that the global expansion of nuclear energy infrastructure provides the United States a unique opportunity to meet several national imperatives at the same time: (1) increasing U.S. influence over nuclear nonproliferation policy and practices around the world; (2) ensuring the highest possible levels of nuclear power plant safety and reliability around the world, by exporting U.S. advanced reactor designs and America’s world-class operational expertise; (3) maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear energy technology; and, (4) creating tens of thousands of jobs and maintaining a healthy manufacturing base for nuclear energy technology and services.
The global nuclear marketplace is extremely competitive. Our US industry has to go against enterprises from Russia, France, Korea and Japan. Most of these competitors are state-owned. No new nuclear market will just fall in the lap of US companies – we have to compete hard to win!
To maintain U.S. influence over global nonproliferation policy and international nuclear safety, the U.S. commercial nuclear energy sector must participate in the rapidly expanding global market for nuclear energy technologies (435 commercial nuclear reactors in operation around the world, 72 under construction, 172 planned or on order). If U.S. exporters were able to capture 25 percent of the global market – estimated at $500 billion to $750 billion over the next 10 years – this would create (or sustain) up to 185,000 high-paying American jobs.
The U.S. nuclear industry is competitive, but we must be allowed to compete. This requires policies that promote international civilian nuclear cooperation. The industry:
- Supports efforts to limit the spread of uranium enrichment and used fuel reprocessing (E&R) technologies consistent with current U.S. policy.
- Opposes inflexible preconditions to U.S. nuclear cooperation potential partners will not accept and that other supplier nations do not impose. Pragmatism should continue to guide the United States as it negotiates Section 123 agreements.
- Supports prompt negotiation of new and renewal bilateral agreements for peaceful nuclear energy cooperation. These agreements are essential for meaningful U.S. nuclear exports.
- Supports a proactive approach for the negotiation of Section 123 agreements with nations with new or expanding peaceful nuclear energy programs, including the ROK, Vietnam and China. It is in the U.S. national security, nonproliferation, nuclear safety and economic interest to secure agreements early and with a broad set of partners rather than to sit idly by as these nations partner with other nuclear suppliers. Without agreements in force, we forfeit exports, jobs and commercial benefits, and we will fail to influence these programs in terms of their nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation norms.
- Supports policies that level the competitive playing field for U.S. exporters including reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, bringing the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damages into force, and modernization of export controls under 10 CFR 810.
To follow today's hearing, you can watch the committee's webcast beginning at 9:45 a.m. For more detailed analysis and commentary, please follow NEI's Ted Jones on his Twitter feed, where he'll be live tweeting today's hearing from start to finish.
- Infographic on Nuclear Trade (NEI.org)
- Industry Urges Congress to Back U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Agreement (NEO)
- Timely 123 Agreements Key to Winning Nuclear Trade Deals, U.S. Jobs (NEO)
- U.S. Suppliers See Jobs from Vietnam Trade (NEO)
- Full Engagement in Global Nuclear Trade Vital for U.S. (NEO)
- Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NEI.org)
- Importance of Renewal of Section 123 Agreement Between U.S. and South Korea (YouTube)
- The U.S./South Korea Nuclear Energy Partnership (NEI Nuclear Notes)