Nuclear Politics

US / NEI’s Korsnick Calls For Support As Industry Fights To Compete With China And Russia

By David Dalton
27 March 2019

NEI’s Korsnick Calls For Support As Industry Fights To Compete With China And Russia
Nuclear Energy Institute president and chief executive officer Maria Korsnick. Photo courtesy NEI.
27 Mar (NucNet): The US International Development Finance Corporation must be allowed to support nuclear energy projects as the country fights to catch up and stay competitive in the sector, Nuclear Energy Institute president and chief executive officer Maria Korsnick said in her state of the industry address yesterday.

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.

The International Development Finance Corporation, scheduled to begin operation by the end of the year, will be an executive agency of the federal government responsible for providing foreign aid through the financing of private development projects. Its creation was signed into law by president Donald Trump in October 2018.

Ms Korsnick 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.

“Their efforts to promote nuclear power internationally are core parts of their foreign policy – including 100-year relationships with some nations – and America is falling behind.”

Other countries, from Poland to the Czech Republic to Jordan, are also planning to build or expand nuclear – and the US needs to be at the front of the pack, Ms Korsnick said.

She also said export financing is a critical priority and without a fully functioning Export-Import Bank, US nuclear suppliers cannot compete in a global market on international tenders. She called on the Senate to confirm a quorum on the bank’s board and for Congress to reauthorise the bank itself.

Earlier this month the US Senate banking committee approved Mr Trump’s four nominees to the Ex-Im Bank.

The US inflicted “massive harm” on its own industry by failing in 2015 to confirm new directors to the Ex-Im Bank’s board, thus bringing its operations nearly to a halt, the NEI said recently.

Since then, the Bank has lacked a quorum on its board of directors, preventing it from approving transactions valued over $10m – all but closing the bank for US nuclear energy exports.

The NEI said in the years that the Ex-Im Bank has been neglected, other nations have wisely used export finance to advance their national interests – particularly in important industrial sectors such as nuclear energy.

Russia and China have “exploited export financing in new ways that undermine the regulatory independence, energy security and political autonomy of US partners”.

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