WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced the Nuclear Fuel Working Group’s Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership, a direct outcome from the efforts of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group, established by President Trump on July 12, 2019. Secretary Brouillette unveiled the comprehensive strategy, which outlines potential actions that could enhance the positive attributes of nuclear power, revive capabilities of the uranium mining, milling, and conversion industries, strengthen U.S. technology supremacy, and drive U.S. exports, while assuring consistency with U.S. non-proliferation objectives and supporting national security.
“The decline of the U.S. industrial base in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle over the past few decades has threatened our national interest and national security,” said Secretary Brouillette. “This Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership recognizes this challenge and lays out an array of policy options to restore America’s leadership in nuclear energy and technology. As a matter of national security, it is critical that we take bold steps to preserve and grow the entire U.S. nuclear energy enterprise. The Trump Administration is committed to regaining our competitive global position as the world leader in nuclear energy.”
The Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership recommends:
- Taking immediate and bold action to strengthen the uranium mining and conversion industries and restore the viability of the entire front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
- Utilizing American technological innovation and advanced nuclear RD&D investments to consolidate technical advances and strengthen American leadership in the next generation of nuclear energy technologies.
- Ensuring that there will be a healthy and growing nuclear energy sector to which uranium miners, fuel cycle providers, and reactor vendors can sell their products and services.
- Taking a whole-of-government approach to supporting the U.S. nuclear energy industry in exporting civil nuclear technology in competition with state-owned enterprises.
The United States currently has two well-defined future defense needs for domestic uranium supply: low-enriched uranium needed to produce tritium required for nuclear weapons in the 2040s, and highly-enriched uranium needed to fuel Navy nuclear reactors in the 2050s.
The Strategy also recognizes that U.S. national security is truly integrated with the health of the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle – the United States needs a strong civil nuclear industry to enable national defense. The credibility of the U.S. non-proliferation regime depends upon the viability and the health of a robust civilian nuclear energy industry and technology leadership position, including the “world-leading standard” embodied by the U.S. nuclear safety regulatory structures.
As an initial and important step, the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request for the Department of Energy includes $150 million to stand up a domestic Uranium Reserve. It will begin with the purchase of uranium from U.S. mines and of U.S. conversion services.
The United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group (NFWG) was established by Presidential Memorandum on July 12, 2019 to undertake a fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain, and report back to the President. The NFWG took a collaborative interagency approach to develop policy options across the entire nuclear fuel supply chain to revitalize the U.S. nuclear energy industry.