US Seeks Japan's Alliance On Nuclear Energy - Commerce Secretary Ross
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 19th December, 2019) The United States is seeking Japan's assistance in making nuclear energy an essential part of its energy mix, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
"Nuclear is and must remain an essential part of our energy mix long into the future," Ross said in a speech to the US-Japan Roundtable Washington Conference on Wednesday. "To make that happen, the United States is working with allies like Japan to assure the efficient licensing and construction of a new generation of inherently safe and economically viable reactors."
Ross said the US petroleum industry struggled for decades to achieve energy independence and finally accomplished that goal from innovative recovery technologies that have made the United States the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas, that even supplied part of Japan's needs.
"Now, more than ever before, we need a similar technological revival of the nuclear power industry," he said. "Both Japan and the United States need a new nuclear capability as we become increasingly electrified, and replace old and inefficient electrical generating capacity. So, too, does the world, as more people are buying more electronic gadgets, as the need for desalination grows."
He said Japan would benefit having a fleet of new, inherently safe reactors, noting that nuclear's share of Japan's energy mix had dropped from 25 percent after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to just 3 percent in 2017.
"To achieve sustainable global development on a real scale, and to balance electrical demand when renewables are not available, then nuclear must be a viable option," Ross said.
He said there were 53 nuclear reactors currently under construction globally, of which 10 were in China; seven in India; six in Russia; four in Korea; four others in the UAE; and two each in the United States and Japan.
There were another 107 reactors planned between now and 2030, with China contracting to build 43, including 24 outside its country; and Russia planning 29 reactors, of which 23 would be outside its borders. The United States only had three reactors in the pipeline, Ross said.
"If the U.S. and Japan don't lead this renaissance, then somebody else will. We jointly have the technical knowhow and the operational experience to design and build a new generation of reactors. Now, we need the will-power to do so," Ross said.