NEI urges U.S. to renew nuclear trade agreement with China

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said late last week that it has called on the U.S. Senate to block a measure that would allow a bilateral nuclear trade agreement with China to expire.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AK) introduced a resolution that disapproves of the agreement on earlier this month. The NEI said that if the agreement ends, approximately 45,000 jobs in the U.S. would be at risk, and the country's global influence would diminish on the nuclear energy market.

“Without renewal, all cooperation between the world’s two largest economies on commercial nuclear energy technology and construction will cease,” NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel said in a letter to Senate majority and minority leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Harry Reid (D-NV).

The Senate currently is reviewing the agreement. If no action is taken, the agreement will expire in December.

In a recent report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said China is expected to surpass South Korea and Russia in nuclear-energy generation capacity by the end of this year. Fertel said the Chinese government is pursuing a large-scale expansion of its nuclear capacity that is predicted to directly benefit the U.S. economy to the tune of between $70 billion and $204 billion if the pact survives.

If the agreement is allowed to lapse, it would also signal to other partners that the U.S. is not a reliable trade partner, Fertel said.

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Nuclear Energy Institute

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