America is losing its leadership in nuclear energy to Russia

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  • America lacks a flexible regulatory framework in nuclear energy
  • Washington cuts investments in nuclear energy
  • Russia controls 40% of the enriched uranium market and supplies America with 20% of its reactors needs
  • America’s continued neglect of nuclear energy forces it to import technologies from China in the future
  • Eastern European countries prefer US nuclear technology over Russia

Analysts believe that the United States has abandoned its leadership in nuclear energy in favor of Moscow, as this was evident after the outbreak of the Russian war on Ukraine, and the weakness of Western countries in dealing with this aggression, due to the scarcity of energy sources from oil and gas in Europe, and the decline in electricity generation from various sources in America.

The previous view, expressed by the authors: Ted Norhouse and Valerie Shen; In an opinion article, published by the American newspaper “The Hill”.

The two authors believe that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the hand of the West shackled to act in a way that prevents Moscow from continuing this aggression, despite the heavy economic sanctions, was revealing the fragility of energy security in Europe, especially in Germany – the largest economy in the continent – and also to the extent of America’s neglect of nuclear energy, which Leave the square empty for the leadership of Moscow.

Renewable Energy in America

The war revealed America’s long neglect of the nuclear energy sector, as the huge investments made by the United States in the field of renewable energy, such as sun and wind – in addition to natural gas technologies in recent decades – helped secure a large part of domestic needs, according to an article by “The Hill” newspaper. “.

These investments also contributed to strengthening America’s ability to ban Russian oil and gas imports, days after Moscow’s invasion of Kiev, without a significant negative impact on the internal market.

However, the war also showed that Russia and China were able to pull the rug out from under America’s feet in the nuclear sector, due to Washington’s failure to invest in infrastructure, the rigid regulatory framework, and the challenges of building new reactors, which increased the regulatory burden and operational cost.

And the US Energy Information Administration had indicated, last month, that electricity generation from nuclear energy fell 1.5% on an annual basis, to reach 778 million megawatt hours, and that the percentage of nuclear energy in electricity generation last year is similar to the average during the previous decade at 19 %.

uranium supply chain

America is currently suffering from dwindling domestic supply chains for uranium and nuclear fuel, according to the authors of the article in The Hill.

In return, Moscow supplies American nuclear reactors with about 20% of their needs of highly enriched uranium, and the Russian company “Tenex” is the world’s only commercial source of low-enriched, high-standard uranium (HELEU), which is needed by the new generation of nuclear power plants. Nuclear reactors in Washington.

Russia currently produces 40% of the world’s enriched uranium, which is needed for peaceful nuclear industries, including nuclear energy, and operates the world’s only commercial nuclear materials testing center.

The authors said that America’s short view of the nuclear sector weakened Washington’s strength and influence in the field of nuclear technology exports, making Russia the first, because it provides an integrated product, starting with technologies, through financing, and ending with nuclear fuel and nuclear waste treatment for countries that want clean energy, and reliable, a hedge against the problems of importing fossil fuels and the instability of renewable energy.

America’s preference

Nuclear Energy
Nuclear power plant in Russia – photo from “TechGaines.com”

Many democratic countries among America’s allies around the world prefer to rely on nuclear energy technologies produced in the United States, and avoid those from Russia, according to The Hill article.

The authors of the article, Ted Norhouse and Valerie Shen, said that America, despite the long neglect of the nuclear sector, still has the best nuclear energy engineers in the world, as they have enormous capabilities to innovate high-quality technologies, create project models capable of production and meet global demand for clean energy. And reliable, without the need for both Russia and China.

For example, Eastern European countries have sought to rely all the time on importing nuclear technologies from the United States, despite the opposition of its fellow Union members: Germany and Belgium, because they had a long-term vision, as the continent warned that the risks of resorting to energy imports from Russia are greater Stages of countries’ fears of nuclear energy.

The authors said: “Russia’s war on Ukraine has proven the correctness of the prophecy of the countries of Eastern Europe.”

It is reported that Germany has a plan to phase out nuclear energy, and its last nuclear reactors will be retired this year.

Chinese technologies

The two writers in The Hill predict that in light of the previous Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western hostility with the former, and America’s weakness in the nuclear energy sector, there will be no alternatives for the United States in the future, other than relying on Chinese technologies.

However, the danger of relying on China is no less than neglecting nuclear energy, and Russia’s control of the nuclear energy market. Beijing threatens Washington economically and security, being the fiercest competitor to America at present.

Therefore, the restoration of America’s strength and leadership in the nuclear energy market requires that it urgently start taking steps, especially since there is support from the two main parties, the ruling Democrat and the Republican opposition, for this type of energy.

These measures range from a stimulating legislative structure, reducing the time during which licenses are granted for new reactors, and moving to small nuclear reactors, which have been proven safe and effective, in addition to pumping appropriate investments, according to the authors.

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