A Strategic View of US Nuclear Power Policy
Recently, I had the opportunity to give a presentation in a workshop hosted by the Global America Business Institute (GABI). GABI’s mission is “to advance awareness and proficiency in global affairs with a focus on international energy policy issues and US-Korea energy policy agenda”, which aligns with my collaborations at the University of Georgia with the Center for International Trade and Security (where I serve as a Senior Fellow) and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s South Korea Program.
My talk, which is about thirty minutes and is followed up with thirty minutes of Q&A, covers US energy policy, in general, but focuses on the national security implications of US nuclear power policy. I provide some historical background to early development of the first principles of America’s nuclear power policy and emphasize that US nuclear power policy was originally crafted as an extension of US foreign policy to meet national security objectives. However, US nuclear power is currently debated predominantly as an energy commodity. As such, I contend in this talk that US civilian nuclear power policy and strategy should be realigned to meet foreign policy and national security objectives, and I propose three core actions to do so. Central to my points are that the US needs to conduct a whole-of-government “Nuclear Industrial Base Review” of its civilian nuclear enterprise in order to evaluate risks and make recommendations for strengthening, reorganizing and reconstituting the US nuclear sector’s domestic and global manufacturing supply chain to meet 21st century challenges, with a view toward partnering with our allies–i.e., the UK, South Korea, Japan, Canada, France, Australia.
The summary point is: the US must develop a strategic approach to its civilian nuclear power enterprise given energy security, climate change and great power competition of the 21st century–all of which coalesce into 21st century national security challenges unlike any the US has ever faced.