atw 2018-09v3


atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 8/9 ı August/September

The Chinese and Russian use of nuclear-power ­financing

and technology as a means of expanding their overseas

physical presence, and their foreign-policy influence in

key countries, has important implications for the US the

Atlantic Council report says.

On one hand, US companies are collaborating with

China on building, developing, and demonstrating new

reactors; GE has won tenders for the supply of turbine

generators for new Russian-supplied units in Hungary and

Turkey. On the other hand, Russia and China are vying for

expanded influence in countries critical to US diplomacy,

namely Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and


The Middle East is emerging as an arena of intense

­nuclear competition and positioning, with the first South

Korean nuclear unit recently completed at Barakah in the

United Arab Emirates, Jordan continuing to negotiate

on financing for two Russian nuclear reactors, Egypt

beginning construction of a nuclear station at Akkuyu

with Russia, and Saudi Arabia announcing its intention

to proceed with two reactors after years of delay. The

Chinese, French, Russians, and South Koreans have

submitted initial bids in Saudi Arabia, and a US has also

submitted a bid on this first phase of the process of

short listing companies. The bid was approved by the US

Department of Energy (DOE), even though the US has not

yet concluded a 123 nuclear framework agreement with

the Saudis, which would be necessary before a US export

deal could be finalised.

Drew Bond, a senior fellow and director of energy

innovation programmes at the American Council for

Capital Formation Centre for Policy Research, agrees

that this is a critical time for the Trump administration,

energy secretary Rick Perry and US domestic nuclear

infrastructure. He says the country’s 30-year hiatus in

building new reactors coupled with the rise of state-owned

competitors abroad has taken “a significant toll on the US

nuclear industry and has seriously undermined America’s

global influence over nonproliferation and other matters”.

The US used to be the overwhelming leader in

designing, building, and fuelling nuclear reactors around

the world, but no longer, said Mr Bond. “Unfortunately, in

recent years we have ceded this role – along with our

­influence – to other nations, particularly Russia, China,

and South Korea. More than a dozen countries have

planned or proposed to build new reactors in the coming

years. Whether those reactors are designed and built up to

US or Russia safety standards is critical, not to mention the

geopolitical implications for the world.”

President Trump and his administration have been

calling for an “all of the above” energy strategy that

achieves US energy dominance. But advanced fossil fuels

and renewables can’t do it alone. According to Mr Bond,

nuclear energy and the supply chain that comes with it

must be a part of the picture.

The Atlantic Council report, said the NEI, shows the

need for the administration and Congress to support

American commercial nuclear exports through concrete


“It’s critical for our industry that, given aggressive

overseas, state-owned competitors, we work with the

White House and Congress to give American companies

the tools they need to compete and win abroad,” NEI

vice-president Dan Lipman said.

“That means reestablishing a quorum at Ex-Im Bank,

ensuring US expot controls for nuclear technology are

more efficient, ensuring Section 123 bilateral nuclear

cooperation agreements are concluded, and fully funding

commercial nuclear energy research and development in

the federal budget.

“It’s not only American jobs that are at stake, but our

influence on safety, security and nonproliferation norms

across the world.”



The Independent Global Nuclear News Agency

David Dalton

Editor in Chief, NucNet

Avenue des Arts 56

1000 Brussels, Belgium

The Atlantic Council

report is online:




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Inside Nuclear with NucNet

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A Stark Warning to Trump on China, Russia and the ‘Crisis’ Facing US Nuclear Industry ı NucNet, David Dalton

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