Ambassador Gidwitz’s Welcome Remarks at USEU’s Small Modular Reactor Public Private Partnership Virtual Roundtable

Ambassador Gidwitz Remarks (as prepared)
USEU’s Small Modular Reactor Public Private Partnership Virtual Roundtable
June 30, 2020
Brussels, Belgium

 

Hello and welcome to this Small Modular Reactor virtual roundtable.

I’d like to first thank Director General for Energy Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Deputy Director General for Energy Massimo Garribba and their team at the European Commission for their dedication to the transatlantic relationship and stewardship of the U.S.-EU energy partnership. We appreciate the great cooperation with the Commission on a variety of important topics such as LNG, offshore wind, the Green Deal, in addition to SMRs. Strong cooperation is key, especially given the COVID challenge that we confront on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a pleasure for my team and me to work with you all and I am proud that the U.S. Mission to the EU is working with all parties to advance our mutual interests.

Next I’d like to thank members of the U.S. civil nuclear industry and the U.S. Government for coming together to discuss this very important topic and for working together to get the SMR Public-Private Program off the ground.

Let me also take the opportunity to thank our partners at the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council and the Nuclear Energy Institute. Your assistance was instrumental in bringing together so many high-level industry representatives. I appreciate your support.

Your participation in today’s discussion is an example of the tremendous work that the Departments of Commerce, State, Energy, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency are undertaking to advance President Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

This includes important investments under the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, which the President signed into law two years ago. This also includes the deployment of SMRs and advanced reactors as both a complement to large gigawatt reactors and as a scalable, safe source of power generation.

The United States and Europe remain committed to strengthening transatlantic energy security. This includes cooperation on nuclear energy. Investment in SMR and advanced reactor technologies promises not only a source of reliable, affordable, and zero carbon clean energy, but also a way to increase Europe’s energy security through the diversification of its energy sources. SMRs can help to diversify Europe’s energy mix while increasing member state energy independence and minimizing exposure to increased risk from geopolitical rivals such as Russia and China. We all have an important role to play here in maximizing the potential of SMRs as a safe, zero emissions source of energy with immense power generation capacity.

Today’s roundtable will build on years of cooperation under the U.S.-EU Energy Council, including the concrete outcomes of last October’s successful U.S.-EU SMR Forum. Our thanks again to our friends from DG Energy for graciously hosting the event alongside the U.S. Mission to the European Union and the Departments of Energy and Commerce. The Forum highlighted the need for joint U.S.-EU efforts for a successful near-term roll-out of game-changing SMR technology in Europe.

The goals of today’s meeting are twofold: first we would like to solicit your input, especially from industry participants, on U.S.-EU SMR planning and future collaborative activities. Second, this roundtable will launch the SMR Public-Private Program which we hope will be an engine for private sector engagement in U.S.-EU and EU Member States’ SMR collaboration.

The strong turnout at today’s roundtable demonstrates the value of this next generation of civil nuclear technology and that companies are ready to start delivering commercial solutions to Europe’s energy needs and carbon reduction goals. Commercializing this technology is the next step, and it is an important one. I am glad the U.S. Government and private industry are working together to achieve this important goal. In fact, later today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency will be announcing its support to the SMR PPP through a six-part workshop series that will facilitate cooperation between the U.S. and the EU on SMR standards and regulations. This is another concrete example of our efforts to strengthen the U.S.-EU energy partnership.

Thank you once again for your participation. I hope that you have productive discussions and we look forward to your input.

Let me now turn it over to Director General Juul-Jørgensen.