Trump heralds golden era for US energy

President Donald Trump yesterday announced a "complete review" of US nuclear policy as the first of six new initiatives to secure domestic energy independence and create a "new era of American energy dominance."

By World Nuclear News
Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The president's remarks were made in speech on American energy dominance at a Department of Energy (DOE)-hosted event on Unleashing American Energy. The event was also attended by Vice President Mike Pence, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Scott Pruitt, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, who took part in a panel discussion on the policy framework for US energy dominance.

With the USA's "extraordinary energy abundance" - unknown of "even five years ago" - Trump promised his administration would seek not only "the American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance". He spoke of plans to export energy "all over the world, all around the globe". This potential could only be realised with governmental promotion of energy development, he said, going on to announce "six brand-new initiatives to propel this new era of American energy dominance."

The first of those initiatives, he said, would be to "revive and expand" the country's nuclear energy sector. "A complete review of US nuclear energy policy will help us find new ways to revitalise this crucial energy resource," Trump said.

The other five initiatives announced by the president addressed issues connected with the export of US coal plants, natural gas and petroleum, and opening offshore areas to fossil fuel development.

"The golden era of American energy is now underway," Trump said.

Nuclear Energy Institute president and CEO Maria Korsnick said the US nuclear industry welcomed a comprehensive study of the issues it faces. "If the president wishes for our nation to achieve nuclear energy dominance both at home and abroad, he'll do it by preserving the existing nuclear fleet, paving the way for the deployment of advanced nuclear designs and stimulating exports abroad. We look forward to working with the administration on these incredible opportunities," she said after attending the event.

Making nuclear cool

The president's speech gave no further details of the planned review of the nuclear industry, but earlier in the week Energy Secretary Perry reaffirmed the administration's support for nuclear energy, particularly advanced reactors and small modular reactors.

"I believe no clean energy portfolio is truly complete without nuclear power, and so does the President. If you want to see the environment and the climate that we live in affected in a positive way, you must include nuclear energy with zero emissions to your portfolio," he said at a White House press briefing. "Do it safe, do it thoughtfully, do it economically. Under the leadership of the United States, the world can benefit from that."

"This administration believes that nuclear energy development can be a game-changer and an important player in the development of our clean-energy portfolio globally. I believe we can achieve this by focusing on the development of technology, for instance, advanced nuclear reactors, small modular reactors," he said.

In answer to questions about the USA's two nuclear plant construction sites, VC Summer and Vogtle, Perry said it was important to keep America engaged in the development of nuclear energy. "One of the things we want to do at DOE is to make nuclear energy cool again … we need as a country, I think, to again bring us to that place where the nuclear energy is a part of a portfolio and to be able to sell it in great truthfulness and honesty about what it can add to America both from an environmental standpoint and from a security standpoint," he said.

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