ASME Co-Sponsors Congressional Briefing on Commercial Nuclear Exports
ASME joined with leading experts in industry and government this week to convene a briefing for congressional staff on the value of commercial nuclear technology exports. Participating organizations included the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration (ITA), Westinghouse, Curtiss-Wright, the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and experts from across the nuclear industry.
Ian Steff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing at the ITA, emphasized the strategic importance of nuclear technology exports and the Trump administration’s commitment to ensuring the U.S. nuclear industry is well positioned to compete internationally. According to Department of Commerce figures, the U.S. could capture up to $58 billion in export potential as demand for low-carbon energy ramps up in the coming decades. ITA’s Civil Nuclear Energy Top Markets Report details the growing demand for nuclear power technologies worldwide and, with it, new export opportunities for U.S. companies.
Continuing the theme of export market potential, Graham Cable, Vice President of Global Growth & Strategy for Westinghouse, explained that overseas nuclear projects have a major impact domestically because an average of $400 million in U.S. exports are generated for each $1 billion spent on overseas nuclear projects. Westinghouse is currently building four nuclear power plants in China, the only current international U.S. reactor sales project. Carol Berrigan, Senior Director for Supplier Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, matched these export figures to jobs, which are estimated as supporting approximately 475,000 U.S. jobs and almost $60 billion in U.S. GDP.
Other speakers highlighted the importance of nuclear technology partnerships in foreign policy, arguing that U.S. industry is faced with a large amount of state-owned enterprise competition that aims to meet growing demand over the next 20-30 years. Former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield, now a partner in Pillsbury-Winthrop’s energy practice, concluded the briefing with recommendations for policymakers ranging from support for the U.S. Export-Import Bank, advancing international technology agreements, and investment in Department of Energy research on advanced reactor design and new fuel technologies.
ITA’s 2017 Top Markets Report on civil nuclear technologies is available at: https://www.trade.gov/topmarkets/pdf/Civil_and_Nuclear_Top_Markets_Report_2017.pdf