NEI Urges White House To Keep "Nuclear Energy Policy Czar"

The Nuclear Energy Institute said it was urging the White House to keep the position of National Security Council Director for Nuclear Energy Policy, which is reportedly about to be eliminated.

NEI logoThe NEI said it sent a letter to White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice, urging her to retain the position, which has informally been known as the “nuclear energy policy czar.”

The letter was signed by the NEI, the American Nuclear Society, the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council and the think tank called Third Way. On its Web site, the NEI calls the position “crucial to ... U.S. civilian nuclear trade, security and climate policy.”

Spelled out in the letter to Rice are the key accomplishments of the position, which was established in 2012, the NEI said. Those points included “'creating coherence' in U.S. civil nuclear policy, 'enhancing the competitive position of the U.S. civil nuclear industry and furthering U.S. nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation objectives,” says the letter that was dated May 3.

The NEI said that “critics in Congress have faulted the Obama administration for 'micromanaging' policy” with an expanded National Security Council staff. But that does not apply to the nuclear czar position, which has helped coordinate the many offices overseeing nuclear policy, the NEI said.

The Director of Nuclear Energy Policy at the National Security Council is a position that has been successful in bringing together the various government agencies involved in U.S. civil nuclear policy,” said Westinghouse Electric Company vice president of Government and International Affairs Jeanne Lobatto.

She called the position “critical to U.S. nuclear companies that are competing with government owned enterprises.”

Marcia Burkey, chief financial officer at TerraPower Inc., also called the position critical. “U.S. support for nuclear exports was uncoordinated and scattered through different federal departments, and U.S. exports faced serious challenges dealing with foreign competitors backed by governments with highly centralized structures supporting their exporters,” she said.

The position was inaugurated in 2012 with the appointment of Joyce Connery, who left in July 2015. She was replaced by Michael Wautlet.

Among the accomplishments was the “breakthrough” accord with India that could lead to a “major” order for a U.S. company, the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the April 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, the NEI said.

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!