Speaker: AMB Laura S. H. Holgate
Advanced nuclear reactors offer enormous promise as carbon-free solutions for a range of energy and development challenges due to their potentially lower cost, flexibility, and enhanced safety. To meaningfully influence climate change, these reactors will need to be widely deployed, including in countries without extensive nuclear experience and in designs using novel fuel cycles. And policymakers, regulators, and civil society will need to have confidence that these reactors are designed not only with safety and cost in mind but also with due consideration to whether terrorists, insiders, or even governments can sabotage a facility or acquire or divert nuclear material that could be used for weapons. Meeting these challenges requires more than a slogan of “proliferation resistance” and relates to security- and safeguards-by-design as well as fuel cycle characteristics. Reactors that incorporate security- and safeguards-by-design could become more attractive exports, maximizing economic and national security benefits for the United States.