Nuclear Is Back on the Table for a Green Future

Maria G. Korsnick, president and chief executive of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade group that promotes nuclear power, said that the timeline was going to be much quicker than that — “like in the next year or two.”

“We talk about things here, about large nuclear, because that’s what’s in our head,” she said. “I will just say, you are about to see a plethora of different opportunities for nuclear.”

“There’s still going to be a role for large nuclear,” she added. But designs for small modular and even micro plants “are coming out in the next few years.”

Nuclear reactors designed with modular technology can be built much quicker and cheaper than conventional ones, Ms. Korsnic added.

While the experts in the room said they believed nuclear energy has a big role to play globally, some said they did not think that was the case for the United States.

“I think in parts of the world where coal is still king, like in China and India, and when you have very large annual average growth of demand,” nuclear power could be a major player, Tyson Slocum, energy program director at Public Citizen , said.

But “we’re basically using the same amount of electricity in the United States today that we did over a decade ago,” he said. “So building nuclear power in a sort of negative demand environment doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

Participants: Oksana Markarova, ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Embassy of Ukraine; Philippe Étienne, ambassador of France to the United States, Embassy of France; David Turk, deputy secretary of energy, Department of Energy; Justin Friedman, senior adviser for commercial competitiveness in nuclear energy, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, US Department of State; Andrés Gluski, chief executive, AES; Maria G. Korsnick, president and chief executive, Nuclear Energy Institute; Erin Sikorsky, director, the Center for Climate and Security; Tyson Slocum, energy program director, Public Citizen; Daniel B. Poneman, president & chief executive, Centrus Energy; Alan Ahn, senior resident fellow for the climate and energy program, Third Way; Eric L. Veiel, co-head of Global Equity and chief investment officer, T. Rowe Price.

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