By: Jennifer T. Gordon
What is the kernel of the issue?
To uphold US safety and nonproliferation standards, it is crucial for the US and its allies to be the leading vendors of nuclear reactors. However, Russian and Chinese state-owned nuclear enterprises are seeking to dominate the international civil nuclear market, and they have the potential to realize their goals through state-backed financing.
Why is the issue important?
As a low-carbon energy source, nuclear power will play a key role in the global fight against climate change. Diplomacy is also crucial, as the Biden Administration recognizes in its appointment of a Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
What is the recommendation?
The Biden Administration’s State Department should proactively seek agreements with new-to-nuclear countries. The Department should also engage with its civil nuclear allies—especially Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Canada—to co-finance new nuclear projects in third-party countries; for example, countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe. Through a robust civil nuclear export program, the Biden Administration can combat climate change and uphold US safety and nonproliferation standard, while strengthening partnerships with allies and forging century-long diplomatic relationships with countries that purchase nuclear energy technologies.