The overly complex regulatory structure for the U.S. nuclear power industry has unnecessarily stifled the country's ability to export its technology and expertise, a new report from the Nuclear Energy Institute claims.
The report, prepared by energy law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, points to the regulatory structures in the three other major nuclear power reactor technology exporters.
Whereas the U.S. divides authority for export projects between four different agencies, with the final approval process taking up to as much as one year, no other exporter has more than two responsible agencies.
"International customers avoid export regimes that are difficult or unreliable," explained J. Bradley Fewell, vice president and deputy general counsel at energy firm Exelon. "For most countries, energy security is a primary driver for developing new nuclear energy. Reliable supply and predictable tech transfer - including the transfer of skilled professionals - are therefore critical factors in procurement decisions."
The report explains that many steps can be taken to simplify the export process without the need for any new legislation, potentially creating or maintaining as many as 185,000 jobs.