The Nuclear Energy and National Security Coalition (NENSC) is an organization under the aegis of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center. This organization will build on the report of the Atlantic Council Task Force on US Nuclear Energy Leadership, US Nuclear Energy Leadership: Innovation and the Strategic Global Challenge. The Coalition’s mission is to increase awareness of the link between nuclear energy policy and US national security, address policy issues that are relevant to nuclear energy (e.g., lifting the United States International Development Finance Corporation nuclear project finance ban), support the related work of like-minded organizations, and serve as a clearing house for information and analysis on nuclear energy and national security.

Additionally, the Coalition supports programming at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center and other venues on the intersections between nuclear energy and national security, in order to increase awareness and interest regarding these issues. Furthermore, convenes leading thought leaders in nuclear energy policy and leverage their expertise for writing and speaking engagements. This initiative will draw upon bipartisan support for nuclear energy. The Coalition is co-chaired by Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr. and Admiral Richard Mies.


The increasing global demand for low-carbon electricity sources has made nuclear an attractive and reliable energy source. Nuclear power is crucial to reaching international climate goals—especially given its ability to decarbonize electricity systems and “hard-to-abate” industries—and maintaining global security. At home, nuclear energy provides twenty percent of total US electricity supply and more than half of carbon-free electricity. Abroad, a robust civil nuclear export program can strengthen US climate diplomacy and will ensure the highest safety and nonproliferation standards as new countries seek to build nuclear energy programs.

If the United States does not address and overcome the challenges facing the industry at home, it will find itself ceding competitiveness abroad, falling behind countries that approach nuclear technology development and deployment more strategically. This could result in new-to-nuclear countries looking to Russia or China, rather than the United States, to acquire nuclear energy technologies. As the United States grapples with geopolitical challenges posed by growing Russian and Chinese nuclear exports, civil nuclear cooperation between the United States and its allies and partners will become even more essential.

For more on US nuclear energy leadership, read the report


May 20, 2019

US nuclear energy leadership: Innovation and the strategic global challenge

By Atlantic Council Task Force on US Nuclear Energy Leadership

A flourishing domestic nuclear energy sector is critical to US national security, both in the interconnections between military and civilian uses of nuclear energy, as well as in foreign policy.

Nuclear Energy United States and Canada

Nuclear reactions web series

The Nuclear Energy and National Security Coalition is excited to announce “Nuclear Reactions,” a new web series focused on individuals and communities affected by nuclear power or involved in the nuclear industry outside the policy and tech communities in Washington, DC. Episodes cover a wide range of topics, from community dynamics around power plants and emerging economies’ pursuit of nuclear power to the importance of nuclear energy in youth STEM education and gender parity in the nuclear industry.

Episode 10 – April 21, 2021: Energy access & opportunity in the Caribbean

Charlyne Smith, PhD candidate at the University of Florida and graduate research intern at École Polytechnique in France, discusses how her upbringing in Jamaica inspired her to pursue her studies in clean energy, transition from a focus on renewables to nuclear, and believe in the transformative ability of nuclear energy to improve energy and water access, disaster resilience, and health and agriculture research. Growing up in Jamaica—the site of the Caribbean’s only nuclear reactor—she and her family were not exposed to the negative perceptions that have plagued the nuclear industry in other countries—a fact she believes helped her view nuclear energy with a fresh perspective. In this episode, Charlyne shares her thoughts on the compatibility of nuclear and renewables, the importance of nuclear education and public awareness in the developing world, and the role of nuclear in the upcoming COP26 climate negotiations.

NENSC co-chairs

Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr.
Executive Chairman of the Board, Lightbridge Corporation

Ambassador Graham became a director of Lightbridge on April 2, 2006, and chairman of the board on April 4, 2006. Ambassador Graham served as a member of the board of directors of Thorium Power, Inc., from 1997 until the merger with the Lightbridge. He is one of the world’s leading experts on nuclear non-proliferation and has served as a senior US diplomat involved in the negotiation of every major international arms control and non-proliferation agreement involving the United States during the period from 1970 to 1997, including the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (the Interim Agreement on Strategic Offensive Arms, the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the Salt II Treaty), the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (the Start I Treaty and the Start II Treaty), the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty Extension, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In 1993, Ambassador Graham served as the acting director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), and for seven months in 1994 served as the acting deputy director. From 1994 through 1997, he served as the special representative of the president of the United States for arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament with the rank of ambassador, and in this capacity successfully led US government efforts to achieve the permanent extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995. He also served for fifteen years as the general counsel of ACDA.

Ambassador Graham worked on the negotiation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention. He drafted the implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention and managed the Senate approval of the ratification of the Geneva Protocol banning the use in war of chemical and biological weapons. Ambassador Graham served as a member of the International Advisory Board for the nuclear program of the United Arab Emirates from 2009 through its termination in October 2017. He is also chairman of the board of CanAlaska Uranium Ltd. of Vancouver, Canada, a uranium exploration company.

Ambassador Graham received an AB in 1955 from Princeton University and a JD in 1961 from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the Kentucky, the District of Columbia and the New York Bar Associations and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He chaired the Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament of the American Bar Association from 1986 to 1994. He has published numerous non-fiction books, including The Alternate Route: Nuclear Weapon Free Zones and Seeing the Light, the Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century in 2017 and Unending Crisis in 2012.

Admiral Richard Mies, USN (Ret.)
President and CEO, The Mies Group, Ltd.

Admiral Richard Mies is the president and CEO of The Mies Group, Ltd. and provides strategic planning and risk assessment advice on international security, energy, and defense issues. A distinguished graduate of the Naval Academy, he completed a thirty-five-year career as a nuclear submariner and commanded US Strategic Command prior to retirement.

Admiral Mies served as a senior vice president of science applications international corporation and as the chief executive officer of Hicks and Associates, Inc, a subsidiary of SAIC from 2002 to 2007. He served as the chairman of the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee from 2004 to 2010 and as the chairman of the boards of the Navy Mutual Aid Association from 2003 to 2011 and the Naval Submarine League from 2007 to 2016. He presently serves as the chairman of the Strategic Advisory Group of US Strategic Command and is a member of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences, the board of governors of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the board of directors of BWX Technologies, Exelon, the US Naval Academy Foundation and the US Naval Institute. He also serves on numerous advisory boards.

Admiral Mies completed post-graduate education at Oxford University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Harvard University. He holds a master’s degree in government administration and international relations.

NENSC members