Nuclear power remains a critical pillar in the overall energy policy of the United States. The U.S. commitment to nuclear power is highlighted by the recent Construction and Operating License issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for construction of two AP-1000 reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia.
The Department of Energy supported this project by offering a conditional commitment to guarantee more than $8 billion in loans. The Department also partnered with industry to provide more than $200 million in cost-sharing to support the certification and licensing of the new AP1000 reactor design. The Secretary of Energy established the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to explore ways to end the stalemate over the difficult challenges facing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The Commission offered a series of recommendations aimed at establishing a path forward for the responsible stewardship of used fuel and nuclear waste.
Although a few countries have turned away from nuclear power, significant growth in the sector will continue through new builds in countries such as China, India, Russia, the Czech Republic and other Central European countries. That makes it all the more important that the safety lessons of Fukushima be thoroughly understood, embraced, and applied at reactors around the world. The United States continues to work with partners around the globe in combating the threat that nuclear weapons, materials, or technology could fall into the hands of terrorists or other hostile forces through the vision that the President set forth in Prague in April 2009.
— by Daniel B. Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy
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