While environmentalists seem to want to eliminate nuclear energy in the U.S., the world is moving ahead with plans to build many new reactors with or without U.S. participation, largely because of the economic and strategic benefits of having control over one’s own energy source but also because of the environmental benefits from nuclear. Nuclear leaves the largest amount of environment clean and untouched, unlike fossil fuels or renewables. Countries see nuclear power as a means of reducing the millions of premature deaths caused by fossil fuel pollution as well as a way to begin reducing fossil fuels’ impacts on climate. Even countries like Saudi Arabia are looking to build nuclear power plants because of their awareness of the climate hazards of continuing to use carbon-based fuels. Historically, America’s role has been to help construct plants, train operators and set standards for the safe and secure use of nuclear power and nuclear fuels around the world. Which means that eliminating the U.S. from future global activity will have significant economic as well as geopolitical implications, as countries like Russia, South Korea, India and China vie to make themselves indispensable sources of nuclear energy products and services.
From an IAEA Scientific Forum presentation September 2018
There are 30 countries considering, planning or starting nuclear power programs, and a further 20 or so countries have at some point expressed an interest. Among these, Russia is known to be the primary influence on the procurement process for the following countries: Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Cuba, and Uzbekistan. China is working to sell its technology to: Turkey, Sudan, Kenya, Thailand, Cambodia and Uganda.
While there is too much news about international nuclear activity for us to capture it all, we hope this sampling of the types of things going on can help those evaluating the wisdom of letting anti-nuclear opponents force the U.S. to concede its historic leadership within this important market, recognize the folly of that option, especially when so many more countries are hoping to become nuclear energy users.