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Trump restricting U.S. nuclear power exports to China could hurt America’s nuclear industry

Trump’s Latest China Salvo Could Hurt U.S. Nuke IndustryAdministration says Beijing is diverting U.S. nuclear technology for military use. BY KEITH JOHNSON,  FP.COM  OCTOBER 12, 2018, The Trump administration is increasing its economic pressure on China by restricting U.S. nuclear power exports, a move that could end up hurting an American industry desperate to compete in the world’s fastest-growing market for nuclear energy.

Senior administration officials say Beijing is stealing U.S. nuclear technology to gain a competitive edge and is also diverting U.S. nuclear technology toward military uses, such as propulsion systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. In response, after almost a year of review, the administration decided Thursday to restrict the export of some U.S. nuclear technology and components to China.

“The United States cannot ignore the national security implications of China’s efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of U.S.-China civil nuclear cooperation,” U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement.

The restrictions essentially prohibit any new technology transfers, as well as the export of advanced reactor technologies, including small, modular reactors that are seen by many as the industry’s future. Additionally, the U.S. government is essentially banning any and all U.S. exports to China General Nuclear Power Group, one of the country’s two big nuclear energy developers. China General Nuclear was indicted in 2016 for organizing an espionage campaign to acquire U.S. nuclear know-how.

But the new restrictions won’t apparently affect some of the highest-profile U.S. projects in China, such as the construction of new nuclear power plants using the state-of-the-art Westinghouse AP1000 reactor. Chinese utilities are currently building four Westinghouse reactors at two locations; the first just became operational.

For the U.S. nuclear power industry, further restrictions on its ability to compete overseas come as a blow.  For a year, export licenses to China have been held up by the government’s review, and nuclear industry advocates have repeatedly warned U.S. officials of the economic harms of being locked out of the world’s one real growth market, potentially worth tens of billions of dollars in future sales……..

October 15, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, China, politics international, USA

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