Maria Korsnick told a webinar on Wednesday that the DFC decision, which is the subject of a public consultation and has not yet been confirmed, will “set a lot of things in motion”.
“It also opens up the Export-Import Bank [the official export credit agency of the US federal government] to an understanding of the importance of investments for nuclear energy across the world,” she said. “It’s very, very significant.”
“Enhanced financing from the Export-Import Bank would also be a major step forward,” she said.
The DFC said recently that the proposed change to its environmental and social policy and procedures would enable the consideration of support of nuclear power projects
“Modernising DFC’s policy to offer financing for nuclear projects supports the agency’s development mandate, bolsters US foreign policy, and recognises advances in technology which could make nuclear energy particularly impactful in emerging markets,” the statement said.
For example, advanced nuclear technologies under development and deployment in the US, including small modular reactors (SMRs) and microreactors, will have significantly lower costs than traditional nuclear power plants, and may be well suited for developing countries.
Ms Korsnick said the US needs significant investment and bold policy to maintain its position as a world leader in nuclear safety, technology, and operations.
She noted that nearly two out of every three reactors being built around the world are built by China or Russia. “They are making massive investments, expanding their domestic fleet, and developing new technologies,” she said.
“Now, we need to empower the US industry to compete on the merits against state-owned enterprises from Russia and China,” She said. “Support for exports can make an enormous difference.”