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29 Oct, 2022 17:23

US has lost global leadership in nuclear power – IAEA chief

Rafael Grossi says Washington must “walk the walk” if it wants to regain the top spot
US has lost global leadership in nuclear power – IAEA chief

The US is no longer the leader in the civilian nuclear energy industry, having lost its place to Russia and China, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi has said.

Grossi made his comments while speaking at a conference held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) think tank on Friday. CEIP President Mariano-Florentino Cuellar asked him whether the US civilian nuclear industry can regain prominence, considering that “the US is not the same economic player in commercial nuclear technology” as Russia and China.

“I think this is a challenge for America. It has traditionally been the leader, it lost this leadership,” Grossi said.

“But I heard the [US] secretary of energy say that we want to regain this leadership. Of course, you have to walk the walk,” he added. Grossi stated that Russia and China’s more “flexible” business models allow them to export nuclear technology abroad.

At the same time, he expressed confidence that the US has the technological capacity to strengthen its domestic nuclear industry and expand into foreign markets.

“I see interesting decisions being taken to boost the domestic nuclear industry, which is, of course, indispensable internally because of the energy situation here but also internationally,” he said.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said last month that the government under President Joe Biden is “committed to re-establishing the United States as a leader in nuclear energy, non-proliferation, and climate action.” 

According to a July report by S&P Global Commodity Insights, the share of nuclear power generation output in the US and Europe is expected to decrease from roughly 20% to 15% by 2035, while China plans to double its output to almost 10%.