Ambassador Sondland’s opening remarks at the EU-U.S. High-Level Forum on Small and Modular Reactors

Ambassador Sondland’s opening remarks (as delivered)
EU-U.S. High-Level Forum on Small and Modular Reactors (SMRs)
European Commission
October 21, 2019

Thank you to Ditte Juul and to Miguel for hosting today. This is hopefully the beginning of a series of working conferences in the coming years that will bring Small Modular Reactor technology to the forefront and those countries that previously to this point, have determined that nuclear energy is not for them, hopefully they will take another look and begin to really understand the safety and efficiency of the small modular reactors.

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 reps. I greatly appreciate your support.

I am also thrilled that U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has made time in his busy schedule to join us here in Brussels. Rick, your participation in today’s forum is a clear signal of the importance that the United States attaches to this event and is really another example of the tremendous work the Department of Energy is undertaking to advance President Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

Today’s forum is in the same spirit as the LNG conference we co-hosted in May. It furthers our shared goal of strengthening strategic U.S.-EU cooperation on transatlantic energy security. And I hope that all those gathered here today will work toward realizing the groundbreaking potential of SMRs by identifying areas of convergence between technology providers, government and regulatory programs, and, of course, access to the most important thing, the money.

Before we get started, I would like to first say a few words about nuclear energy. Revitalizing this crucial energy resource is among President Trump’s top priorities for the sector. We’re moving full steam ahead at delivering on the promise of Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act that the President signed last year.

And I know the Secretary is hard at work eliminating the financial and technological barriers standing in the way of nuclear innovation that we’ve seen in the past. We will hear about some of this exciting work during today’s event.

The future of nuclear power in Europe is equally promising. Now some of my European friends have told me that nuclear energy is controversial on this side of the Atlantic.

I really haven’t found that to be the case. Certainly, there are some EU Member States who choose not to include nuclear power in their energy mix. But elsewhere the technology continues to thrive as an indispensable part of Europe’s energy sector.

We are now on the cusp of a new generation of advanced reactor technologies. SMR technology promises to serve both as a complement to large gigawatt reactors and as a scalable source of power generation. SMRs offer not only a source of reliable, affordable, and clean energy, but also a way to increase Europe’s energy security through the diversification of its energy sources.

The companies here today are ready to start delivering near-term solutions to the energy investment needs of the transatlantic economy. Let’s get going.

I look forward to a productive conference, and I really thank you once again for your participation.

It is now my honor to turn over the floor to my distinguished friend and colleague, Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.