February 13, 2019
Since President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace speech before the United Nations in 1953, the civilian nuclear power industry has been an important strategic and geopolitical actor.
In that speech, Eisenhower laid out a vision of hope, proclaiming that nuclear technology could have a special purpose, “to provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world.”
The ideas conveyed in Eisenhower’s speech remain amazingly relevant today. President Eisenhower painted a picture of a future. TerraPower’s founders and our brilliant team are also futurists. Our multi-disciplinary approach convinced us that advanced reactors will be key to bringing 1 billion people out of energy poverty and preparing the globe for 3 billion new neighbors by the end of this century. Facing this increase in energy demand, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions requires a bold approach.
Recently, I had the opportunity to join the CEOs of other U.S. nuclear companies to discuss the Administration’s interest in national security and energy. National security experts gathered us for discussions on the broad significance of maintaining a strong US nuclear industrial base, one which must participate in international projects as nuclear energy is inevitably deployed in new countries around the globe. Power plants do more than make electrons. They represent a lifeline to the regions they serve, and thus can be a key instrument in raising the quality of life, overall welfare and security in emerging economies.
To stay competitive, the U.S. needs a strong commercial nuclear industrial base. Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and IHS Markit Vice Chairman Dan Yergin recently released their joint report here, Advancing the Landscape of Clean Energy Innovation, which suggests a strong nuclear fleet at home ensures energy security that further supports national safety and economic confidence. To lead globally, our long success with existing reactors can pave the way for advanced nuclear, enabling exports in reactor designs, fuel supply, and technical services.
With innovation and technological leadership, America offers our best scientists and entrepreneurs to help address the obstacles facing the nuclear sector today. By being present and active in export markets, we are able to apply our high standards and experience to help maintain international standards of safety and security. The mature operating experience of the US nuclear industry brings another attribute that we can share globally.
Today, the world seeks carbon-free energy that can scale to meet rising energy demand for a growing global population. US nuclear companies are ideally suited to be part of this solution, and certainly advanced nuclear technology must play a part.