This week we highlight two initiatives that are urging national governments to maintain existing nuclear power plants and increase investment in nuclear innovation. We also note the launch of the CEO Climate Dialogue, a program by leading U.S. businesses and environmental groups to promote market-based solutions to climate change, and the International Energy Agency report on the record-setting rise in global carbon emissions. 
It has been a long time since anyone believed that Washington D.C. was America’s hub of innovation and public policy creativity, but it has remained a place where national security matters. Unfortunately, as the parameters of American national security continue to cycle through a rapid evolution, our political leaders are too divided to clearly focus on the new challenges. This point is driven home in detail in a new book about a resurgent Cold War with Russia and China.
Energy and technology are now driving an interrelated series of new challenges. And America’s global leadership is being systematically threatened, eroded, and intentionally ceded. A critical convergence of new issues revolves around low carbon energy. It is vital for addressing climate change, maintaining international influence, and strengthening global security.
But, the political debate on how to achieve a carbon-free future is just not serious. This despite the fact that the steadily increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere was last seen 3 million years ago .
The administration doesn’t want to acknowledge the climate problem and the Democrats have put forth green plans that may satisfy some of their voters but are controversial and perhaps ineffective. Just the mention of a balanced climate policy that includes fossil fuel carbon capture and nuclear power creates a wicked backlash despite the fact that both are part of a realistic solution set.
The problem doesn’t just exist at the federal level. Last week, the state of Pennsylvania threw in the towel on the remaining nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island despite the fact that it accounts for more carbon free energy than all the combined renewable energy sources in the state. It along with other reactors was being considered under zero-carbon energy legislation that would have propped up profitability. Similar legislation has passed in Illinois, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey as part of their zero-carbon objectives. Natural gas will substitute for the carbon free energy now lost to Pennsylvania.
Internationally, America’s competitors for global influence are reveling in the decline of its nuclear capacity. And, domestically, the Congress is making their job easier because of extreme skepticism of the administration and anger at Saudi Arabia. Legislation has been introduced to restrict the use of State Department funds to support the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and to require a reporting to Congress on every application for nuclear export under Part 810 dating back to the Spring of 2015. Part 810 applications are needed to even begin discussion on nuclear technology with another country. They do not allow for the sale of nuclear materials or building of reactors. That is provided for under a nuclear cooperation agreement that must be submitted for congressional review.
Further complicating the situation is an extremely counterproductive fight between the U.S. and South Korea on whether a new version of the Korean APR-1400 nuclear reactor still contains American intellectual property and componentry. At stake is whether that reactor is subject to U.S. export laws. In an environment where it is estimated that Russia and China already have 60% of the global nuclear market, driving a wedge between two key nuclear export allies is politically, economically, and geo-strategically suicidal. Yet, the conflict has been dragging on since last year with no solution in sight.
There is a global leadership vacuum in the changing global security environment. The challenge from China and Russia is real and multifaceted. Key existential dangers like climate change and nuclear security are growing worse. These issues are deeply interrelated. But you would never know it if you looked for the innovative policies that are required to meet these realities.

Ken Luongo, Partnership for Global Security

In a new brief from the Global American Business Institute (GABI), Ken Luongo from PGS, infrastructure project development, finance, and legal specialist Paul Murphy, and energy and electricity market expert Edward Kee analyze how reform of the IAEA’s nuclear reactor “Milestones” process can advance the deployment of small and advanced reactors to meet the surging electricity demand of the developing world without increasing reliance on combustion based generation.
Nuclear Policy, Governance, and Geopolitics
A group of approximately 100 Polish environmentalists and scientists wrote an open letter to the leadership of Germany asking the country to reconsider its plan to decommission its nuclear power plants. Separately, analysts in Germany are concerned about energy supply security as Germany’s phase-out of nuclear power and coal will remove almost a third of its electricity capacity.

More than 40 nuclear associations signed a declaration calling on the Clean Energy Ministerial Conference - which will be held in Vancouver from May 28 to 29 - to commit to doubling public investment in nuclear-related R&D and innovation within the next five years. Their declaration was signed at the International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP), in Juan-les-Pins, France.

Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev said he expects the company to double its annual revenue from foreign nuclear projects to $15 billion by 2024. However, Ecodefense, a Russian environmental group, challenged this assertion and said Rosatom inflates the value of its overseas reactor construction portfolio.

Uzbekistan and Russia decided on a site location for the construction of Uzbekistan’s first NPP, moving up a decision that was expected to be made next year.

Hungary released its National Energy and Climate Change Plan, which aims to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 52% compared to 1990 levels by 2050, mainly through nuclear and renewable energy.

Three Chinese companies, including China’s National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), are lobbying Bangladesh for a contract to construct the country’s second NPP.

South Korea and Saudi Arabia are seeking to create a joint nuclear research center that will enhance Saudi Arabia's knowledge in the nuclear field and stimulate further research and development in South Korea.
Domestic Civil Nuclear Developments
Thirteen leading U.S. energy businesses, along with four leading environmental groups, are calling on Congress to enact a market-based approach to climate change. This new initiative is called the CEO Climate Dialogue and urges Congress to put in place a long-term federal policy as soon as possible.

In a new survey, the New York Times asked the 2020 declared Democratic candidates their positions on climate change, revealing that there are differences in opinions regarding policy solutions, particularly regarding nuclear energy.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee released its draft budget to fund the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, and other international programs and activities. The Committee’s budget includes language that would bar the use of federal funds for the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Congress passed a bill that would require the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress regarding any future  applications for authorizations to engage or participate in the development or production of special nuclear material outside the United States, and for other purposes.

The Three Mile Island NPP in Pennsylvania is set to close after state lawmakers failed to advanced two House and Senate bills, which would have declared nuclear energy as a carbon-free energy source eligible for state clean-energy programs.

Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) can be a reliable, safe and affordable source of power, said Lou Qualls, national technical director for MSRs for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Speaking at an event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, he said MSR technology originally developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory offers advantages that other technologies cannot, but developers, customers and regulators need to be “on the same page” in order to build these reactors.
Nuclear Security and Technology
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is researching new 3-D printing techniques to manufacture nuclear reactor components faster and more cost-effectively. The program’s team director, Kurt Terrani, said that 3-D printed parts can be embedded from the start, making it easier to catch defects.

Chinese scientists have developed a virtual NPP software program that could help evaluate nuclear reactor safety, radiation safety and environmental impact, providing a research tool for nuclear safety design and assessment.
Noteworthy Research
In their latest report, titled Global Energy and CO2 Status Report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that as a result of higher energy consumption, CO2 emissions rose 1.7% last year and hit a new record in 2018 by emitting 33 billion tonnes of CO2. Relatedly, sensors at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii indicate that CO2 emissions have hit a level not seen for 3 million years, as concentrations of greenhouse gases reach 415 parts per million (ppm).

In a new report, titled Belt and Road Tracker, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) launches a new analysis on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The CFR Belt and Road Tracker supplements ongoing analysis of BRI by showing how it has changed countries’ bilateral economic relationships with China over time. Connected to this, the Senate held a Congressional Testimony examining China’s influence in the Western World and if there needs to be a response in policy from the U.S.
The Nuclear Conversation
For more than two decades, the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) has developed actionable responses to global security challenges by engaging international, private sector, and multidisciplinary expert partners to assess policy needs, identify effective strategies, and drive demonstrable results.
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