Why Nuclear is Key to Climate & Energy Security
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As energy prices remain at their highest levels in more than a decade, there’s little sign that the U.S. is on a steady course toward energy security. That’s why the NAM is urging the federal government to pursue all available options—including nuclear.
The lowdown: Nuclear energy is a safe, reliable and the largest zero-emission source of energy in the U.S.
- At a time of pronounced supply chain challenges, oil-and-gas lease cancellations and costly shortages of critical minerals, nuclear energy could go a long way toward fortifying the grid.
- In addition, the technology has advanced enormously in recent years. Microreactors, small enough to be moved by truck, are poised to help solve the challenge of powering remote areas.
- The Department of Energy also recognizes the importance of nuclear energy, recently noting its relevance to energy security in the department’s Supply Chain Assessments.
What we’re saying: “The reality is that to meet our growing electricity needs and climate goals, nuclear-generated power must be part of the solution,” said NAM Director of Energy and Resources Policy Chris Morris. Here are his key policy recommendations:
- Encourage capital formation: The NAM secured a significant $6 billion investment in the Civilian Nuclear Credit Program through the recent infrastructure bill, but more robust investments will be needed to ensure operations continue at current nuclear projects, Morris said.
- Relicensing: Licensing and permitting processes should meet the highest standards, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission often takes years to complete them. The NRC should use its position on the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council to make efficiency improvements in its licensing processes under the recently announced Permitting Action Plan.
- Fuel supply chain security: The U.S. imports uranium for civilian nuclear use from Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Canada and Australia, among others. Meanwhile, new advanced reactor concepts will utilize high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) which is now solely produced by Russia and China. The NAM has been calling on policymakers to prioritize increasing domestic production.
- SMRs and microreactors: Small modular reactors use factory-built components to streamline construction, while microreactors are portable and self-sufficient. Both will be crucial for next-generation nuclear power—but the U.S. government must invest in their manufacturing and modernize regulations accordingly.
- Spent fuels: The NAM has long supported ongoing R&D into the storage and transportation of spent fuels—and progress is being made. Just yesterday, NRC staff recommended licensing a new storage project in New Mexico, “determining there would be largely minor environmental impacts from the project,” according to POLITICO (subscription).
- Public perception: Commercial nuclear power is sometimes viewed as dangerous or unstable based on historic misconceptions. In truth, the U.S. nuclear industry is leading the world in best practices, safety and accountability. Policymakers must engage with local communities to provide the facts and emphasize the importance of nuclear power for combating climate change.
The last word: “Our current fleet and the next generation of nuclear power must be a substantial part of a clear-eyed strategy to address climate and energy security,” Morris said.
Manufacturers Unveil Competitiveness Agenda Ahead of Midterm Elections
“Competing to Win” offers a path for bringing the country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org