In the latest in a series of announcements related to pro-nuclear advocacy campaigns, the Third Way, a DC think tank, has announced the creation of 21st Century Nuclear, a campaign made up of leading experts and innovators who are committed to the development of advanced nuclear technologies.
Third Way’s Vice President Josh Freed will lead the effort with a board of advisors who will provide research and analysis on nuclear innovation in the United States. They will advocate for federal policies that support the commercialization of advanced nuclear reactors.
“The maintenance of our existing nuclear fleet and the development of advanced nuclear reactors are both essential to addressing climate change and meeting growing global energy demand,” said Freed.
“Our hope is that this campaign and the important figures leading it will help drive these efforts forward.”
Currently, 48 companies in North America backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital are working to develop advanced nuclear reactors to provide clean, affordable and safe energy. The 21st Century Nuclear campaign will support commercialization efforts by advancing policy solutions and bringing together experts to coordinate efforts for optimal impact.
“I am excited to support Third Way’s efforts to advanced nuclear technologies,” said Ray Rothrock, partner emeritus of Venrock and new board member of 21st Century Nuclear.
“Washington must become a partner with the private sector, so that advanced nuclear companies put as many ‘shots on goal’ as possible to develop a new generation of reactors that provide cost-competitive, reliable, dispatchable, safe, and clean electricity. This is exactly the kind of innovation the United States does best. 21st Century Nuclear is focused on modernizing our federal R&D and regulatory structures to help make sure it happens now. Time is of the essence.”
Other founding advisory board members for the campaign include Rachel Pritzker, president of the Pritzker Innovation Fund; William Budinger, founder and former CEO of Rodel, Inc.; and Ross Koningstein, director emeritus of Google Inc.
“A new generation of young engineers, entrepreneurs, and private investors is spurring a boom in nuclear innovation to create different types of reactors that are safer, more efficient, and scalable to meet a variety of energy needs,” said Koningstein.
“I am optimistic that advanced nuclear technology can be transformative — bringing more clean cheap reliable energy to people who don’t have it today, and offering new applications that today’s fuel sources can’t economically provide,” he said.
Legislative initiative passes in US Senate
The Third Way effort follows several previous announcements by advocates of the existing nuclear fleet, for new small modular reactors, and for advanced nuclear reactors. Some of these efforts appear to be paying off. Recent legislative initiatives on energy policy, related to nuclear energy passed, in the US Senate by overwhelming majorities.
The legislation, S2012 sponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), directs the U.S. Department of Energy to partner with private innovators on new reactor technologies and the testing and demonstration of new reactor designs.
There are unusually high levels of bipartisan support for this measure on nuclear energy. Jim Conca, a nuclear analyst for Forbes, says, “it signals a shift in views on nuclear in light of climate change and grid reliability.”
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