International Nuclear Energy Act
S. 826 & H.R. 2938
The International Nuclear Energy Act sets a national strategic plan for the U.S. to promote engagement with ally partner nations. The bill develops a strong civil nuclear export strategy to compete against China and Russia.
The International Nuclear Energy Act establishes an Executive Office of Nuclear Energy Policy to design and execute a comprehensive strategy for enabling nuclear energy exports. The bill directs strategic engagement with ally nations and embarking civil nuclear nations to standardize financing, project management, licensing, and liability, as well as to promote safety, security and safeguards which are foundational to a successful, competitive nuclear export program.
Nuclear energy has been a reliable, dispatchable, clean electricity source since the 1950s; roughly 440 reactors power 10% of global electricity. The number of nuclear power plants continue to grow as global electricity demand increases; 57 reactors are under construction worldwide in as many as 18 countries. Not all of these countries have the capability to build nuclear power plants, so they import technology and construction expertise from foreign nations. Russia is dominating the nuclear export market, accounting for about 75% of the 23 exported reactor technologies under construction today. Partnerships formed from nuclear energy exports can last for a century, and the United States must begin establishing international partnerships to lead on global nuclear energy deployment. Since nuclear energy exports require coordination between federal agencies, the United States government must proactively develop relationships with partner nations, and create competitive financing mechanisms to offset Russia and China’s growing influence.
The International Nuclear Energy Act takes a whole-of-government approach to create a robust civil nuclear export strategy. The bill:
- Establishes the Office of the Assistant to the President and Director of Nuclear Energy Policy to coordinate a civil nuclear exports strategy to develop a cohesive federal strategy for engagement with foreign governments, ensure framework agreements and trade controls are in place for key markets, establish financing relationships, promote regulatory harmonization, and enhance safeguards and security.
- Establishes a Nuclear Exports Working Group to create an interagency, 10-year civil nuclear trade strategy.
- Creates programs to facilitate international nuclear energy cooperation to develop the necessary financing relationships, research facilities, workforce training and education, market analysis, safety, security, safeguards, and nuclear governance essential to a strong civil export nuclear program.
- Requires a cabinet-level biennial summit focused on nuclear safety, security, and safeguards, and to enhance cooperative relationships between private industry and government.
- Establishes a small financial assistance program to facilitate the building of civil-nuclear-program technical capacity in embarking civil nuclear nations.
- Establishes a Strategic Infrastructure Fund Working Group to determine how to best structure a fund to finance projects critical to national security.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)
ClearPath Action, Third Way, Nuclear Energy Institute, U.S. Nuclear Industry Council