The Barack Obama administration is convening the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy examining the role of nuclear energy in reducing carbon emissions as part of efforts to combat the threat of climate change. Following is a statement from Marvin Fertel, the Nuclear Energy Institute's president and CEO.
"The nuclear energy industry eagerly anticipates tomorrow's White House Summit on Nuclear Energy. This event reflects recognition of the indispensable—and larger—role that nuclear energy must play in any successful effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electric sector.
"The Nuclear Energy Institute and our member companies throughout the industry greatly appreciate the administration's decision to hold this summit as it moves toward implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and embarks upon the next round of emissions reduction negotiations during the international climate change talks in Paris in a few weeks.
"Globally, nuclear energy generates 33 percent of the electricity supplied by zero-carbon sources. In the United States, nuclear energy is by far the largest source of zero-carbon power, generating 63 percent of the electricity from emission-free sources.
“This reality makes it clear that any credible, sustainable program to reduce carbon emissions must preserve existing reactors, encourage license renewal and encourage the construction of new nuclear energy facilities.
"Alarmingly, over the past three years, four reactors vital to regional economies and clean air efforts have been shut down prematurely already or will be retired prematurely within the next few years. If the United States is to substantially reduce carbon emissions, we cannot afford to prematurely close any more nuclear power plants because of flawed electricity markets. At the same time, new reactor construction—including development of small modular reactors and other advanced reactor technologies—should be pursued vigorously.
"Given the global growth of nuclear energy—with more than 200 reactors either under construction or in the licensing and advanced planning stage—it also is important that American nuclear energy vendors and suppliers have the opportunity to compete in international markets on level footing. This will simultaneously advance several objectives—reducing carbon emissions, creating U.S. jobs, improving nonproliferation practices and enhancing global nuclear safety.
"Identification of opportunities to better realize nuclear energy's promise domestically and internationally is among the important outcomes we hope to realize during the summit."