For Immediate Release: February 16, 2011
Contact: Mary Trupo (202) 482-3809
Commerce Report: Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Can Help Meet Future Energy Demands, Create American Jobs
Report assesses critical market opportunities, barriers to competitiveness
WASHINGTON – A report released today by the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA) points to small modular reactors (SMR) as a way to meet growing global energy with non-carbon based energy technologies. The report, released at Platts 7th Annual Nuclear Energy Opportunities for Growth and Investment Conference in Washington, D.C., provides a detailed analysis of this growing industry and identifies the obstacles to expanding commercial opportunity in this sector.
"Nuclear energy can help increase energy security, reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, while creating U.S. jobs and spurring economic growth," said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale. "The Department of Commerce is working to identify trade barriers, commercial opportunities, and facilitate exports, as well as help U.S. civil nuclear companies navigate vital, but often complicated, export requirements so they can tap the full potential of this growing sector."
A 2009 assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency projects that between 40 and 100 SMRs will be in operation worldwide by 2030. "America is well-positioned with the skills and technology to corner this growing market," Lamb-Hale said.
SMRs represent the newest development in nuclear energy. The advantages lie in their reduced construction costs, interoperability with existing electricity infrastructure, and customization to industrial or municipal applications. SMRs can offer clean power in more specific and directed ways that large-scale reactors cannot.
More than 120,000 Americans are part of the U.S. civil nuclear workforce and the global civil nuclear industry is estimated to reach between $500-$740 billion during the next decade.
The report includes recommendations that can expand the U.S. SMR industry sector such as considering additional nuclear trade agreements with appropriate international markets; including civil nuclear projects in future clean energy programs; setting aside a portion of future nuclear loan guarantee funds to support the rebuilding of U.S. manufacturing capacity; and urging U.S. SMR companies to report specific trade barriers and policy changes to the Department of Commerce.
Pursuing SMR technology means that industry will make use of existing U.S. nuclear manufacturing infrastructure and boost job creation in manufacturing, engineering, transportation, construction, and craft labor.
Several challenges to eventual deployment of SMRs include intense foreign competition from state-owned enterprises, the lack of a global nuclear liability regime, and the erosion of U.S. nuclear manufacturing capacity.
ITA launched the Civil Nuclear Trade Initiative in 2008 to address the most pressing trade issues and challenges for the U.S. civil nuclear sector.
The initiative's goal is to support the U.S. nuclear industry's efforts to expand its manufacturing base by capturing commercial opportunities abroad. It is also the basis for convening the recently reappointed Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee that will be meeting on February 28.
You can download a copy of the report at http://www.trade.gov/publications/abstracts/the-commercial-outlook-for-us-small-modular-nuclear-reactors.asp.
International Trade Administration
The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. ITA has 2,100 employees assisting U.S. exporters in more than 100 U.S. cities and 77 countries worldwide. For more information on ITA visit www.trade.gov.
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