The Global Nexus Initiative (GNI), a policy group formed by the Partnership for Global Security and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), has released a report stating that the “significant changes are required,” in both technology and governance in order for the nuclear power industry to capitalize on its role as a carbon-free energy producer in a time of global warming.
GNI said that their report brought together experts in climate change, nuclear security and energy to study the question of how the industry should adapt to answer to the growing concern over climate change. “America's 99 nuclear reactors have a vital role to play when it comes to powering our economy, protecting the environment and supporting our nation's influence around the world,” said Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of NEI. “GNI's recommendations reflect a common interest in finding policy solutions to keep our plants running, advance new designs and promote the role our nuclear suppliers play in generating jobs at home while strengthening America's hand in global governance in the face of challenges abroad,” she said.
GNI advanced the position that nuclear power was necessary on a global scale to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, a consensus accord reached in December 2015 that spelled out climate change strategies for a threatened planet.
“Nuclear power, in addition to other clean energy technology, is essential to meet increasing global clean energy demands,” GNI said, noting the need to replace the existing U.S. nuclear fleet by mid-century. “Deploying the next generation of technologically advanced reactors in the next 10 to 15 years will require significant evolution – new policies and innovative, effective regulatory systems,” the group reported.
The group called for stronger nuclear governance. “Strengthening public confidence through enhanced safety and security measures is essential,” the group said.
Nuclear power's influence on the geopolitical landscape was also a critical factor. “Traditional nuclear leaders, including the United States and its allies, need to recognize and elevate the importance of supplying the international nuclear marketplace in their geopolitical strategies to meet the economic and political ambitions of other nations that may not share their deep commitment to upholding effective nuclear norms,” according to GNI.
Finally, GNI called for “break the mold” policies. “A unique, collaborative relationship has been created between non-traditional partners – the nuclear industry and civil society organizations that work on nuclear governance, climate change and energy policy. GNI proved that together then can develop valuable new policies that address important issues arising from the nexus of nuclear power, climate change and global security,” the group said.
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