The idea for the New Millennium Nuclear Energy Summit grew out of an ongoing conversation with Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. Initial discussions began when Voinovich visited Idaho National Laboratory in August 2009. Carper agreed to become involved after meeting with INL Laboratory Director John Grossenbacher in Washington, D.C., that autumn.
Conversations between Grossenbacher and the two senators focused on steps needed to support the nuclear renaissance, and how to engage key stakeholders. Those conversations resulted in a commitment to hold a summit that could act as a catalyst to bring nuclear energy stakeholders together. Once assembled, the group could identify policy changes needed to support nuclear energy advancement. They could also clarify roles of future public-private partnerships that would enable nuclear energy to become a significant contributor to our nation’s clean energy portfolio.
Soon after these conversations began with INL, Sens. Carper and Voinovich sent President Obama a letter (685KB PDF), co-signed by 11 U.S. senators, seeking his support and participation in the nuclear summit. They also sent letters to DOE Secretary Steven Chu and extended invitations to regulatory and industry leaders.
By bringing these individuals together with the express purpose of identifying achievable goals and creating a vision for the future of nuclear energy, INL, and Third Way hope significant policy ideas and a workable, realistic public-private partnership can be identified to revive a once robust and promising nuclear industry.
To achieve these goals, Third Way and Idaho National Laboratory hosted the New Millennium Nuclear Energy Summit, a bipartisan forum on the future of nuclear energy in the United States, on December 7, 2010, in Washington, DC. The event featuree Energy Secretary Steven Chu, White House Advisor Carol Browner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko, and more than two dozen industry CEOs, labor and NGO representatives, and energy investors.
The New Millennium Nuclear Energy Summit was held successfully on December 7, 2010, in Washington, D.C. Senior leaders from government, industry and non-government organizations actively participated in defining the most important and substantive issues that confront the nuclear energy industryan essential part of the United States’ energy production portfolio. This Summit initiated the process of developing a comprehensive strategy to build a public- and private-sector consensus on the path forward for nuclear energy in the United States over the next several decades. Additional context for the summit can be found here (521KB PDF).
In preparation for the Summit, Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory drafted this white paper (562KB PDF) to provide background and an overview of issues that were anticipated discussion topics for the Summit. The final version of this paper has been revised to accommodate comments and input from external readers.
Following the Executive Session of the summit, several working groups were convened in the areas of government-industry partnerships, financing of major projects, rebuilding the nuclear industrial infrastructure and new technologies. Over the next several months, these working groupscompromised of representatives from government, industry and nonprofit organizationswill develop comprehensive recommendations in executable detail in each of the areas.
The comprehensive recommendations from the working groups will be compiled by Third Way and Idaho National Laboratory into the New Millennium Nuclear Energy Strategy planned to be completed by July 1, 2011. This strategy will provide the framework describing the recommended path forward for nuclear energy in the U.S. over the next several decades.