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Diplomacy & Crisis News

Politiques de la sécheresse

Le Monde Diplomatique - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 15:10
Le ministère de la transition écologique français a lancé, le 23 mai, une consultation sur l'adaptation de la France à une hausse de 4 °C de sa température moyenne. Cette anticipation des effets du dérèglement climatique concerne notamment le problème de l'eau, objet de conflits d'usage qui s'exacerbent. (...) / , , , , , , , - 2023/06

Diplomacy and Foreign Aid Funding Caught In Debt Ceiling Web

Foreign Policy - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 15:09
Programs aimed at countering China aren’t getting extra cash.

In Sudan, Egypt Faces a Catch-22

Foreign Policy - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 13:00
But there’s one option for resolving the conflict that just might work.

India Is Stuck in a New World Disorder

Foreign Policy - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 10:44
New Delhi wants to be friends with both Moscow and Washington, but the war in Ukraine has underscored the contradictions in its global vision.

To Protect Europe, Let Ukraine Join NATO—Right Now

Foreign Affairs - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 06:00
No country is better at stopping Russia.

The U.S. Ups the Ante in Bangladesh

Foreign Policy - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 02:00
A coercive visa policy aims to bolster democracy ahead of the country’s elections next January.

North Korea’s Botched Satellite Launch Alarms Seoul

Foreign Policy - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 01:00
After a failed first attempt, Pyongyang has vowed to try again.

A Perilous Equation: Khamenei’s Nuclear Ambitions and Washington’s Inaction

The National Interest - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 00:00

At a closed-door Iran briefing in May, Biden administration officials reported to the U.S. Senate on the rapid advance of Tehran’s nuclear program. Senators who emerged from the briefing could not point to any clear plans the administration has to stop Iran from approaching the nuclear weapons threshold. Negotiations have stalled, but the White House also lacks a plan to turn up the pressure. Rather, the administration appears content to kick the can down the road, a strategy that may soon become untenable as Tehran’s nuclear capabilities approach a critical juncture—beyond a certain point, sanctions, and diplomatic pressure will not be able to deter Iran from building a bomb.

Inertia prevails in the White House even though the administration insists it is fully committed to preventing Iran from getting the bomb. Biden’s emphasis on great power competition entails a focus on China and Russia, not Iran. His priority for the Middle East is avoiding any new military intervention. Persian Gulf oil once commanded Washington’s attention, but the shale revolution has made the United States the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, so there is less pressure to play an active role.

The Biden administration is also short on foreign policy bandwidth. The war in Ukraine and fears of a confrontation over Taiwan are both consuming senior officials’ attention.

Clearly, the White House would like to conclude a new nuclear deal with Iran, but the changing nature of Tehran’s nuclear program makes it impossible to return to the original deal from which Donald Trump withdrew in 2018. Iran’s clerical regime has enriched uranium to much higher levels than ever before, approaching the production of weapons-grade material it could use in a warhead. Most of this progress occurred after Biden made clear he wanted a new deal—Tehran understood this meant the White House would tolerate new provocations.

Washington acknowledges that there is no simple way to return to the original nuclear deal and a longer and stronger deal is needed. Yet the lack of a viable alternative leaves the Biden administration seemingly rudderless. Instead, the White House appears to be stalling for time, hoping some unforeseen bit of good luck resolves its nuclear dilemma. But deferring decisive action may soon become impracticable. Time is on the side of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Soon, no combination of diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions will be sufficient to stop him if he decides he wants the bomb.

The Iranian economy continues to struggle, yet Biden’s decision not to enforce sanctions vigorously has strengthened Khamenei’s hand. The regime continues to grapple with very high inflation, massive devaluation of its currency, and sluggish growth. Yet Iran still has substantial export revenue thanks to the lack of sanctions enforcement. In the Persian year 1401 (April 2022 to March 2023), Tehran exported $53 billion in non-oil goods. In just the first half of that year (April 2022 to October 2022), Tehran exported $29.4 billion in oil, gas, and condensate, according to the Central Bank of Iran. For comparison, between April 2020 and October 2020, Tehran managed only $8.6 billion of such exports. The majority of Iran’s crude oil exports go to China, which is glad to help undermine U.S. leverage.

Diplomacy with rogue states rarely results in disarmament. Even North Korea, with far fewer natural resources than Tehran, proved itself capable of withstanding a combination of economic and diplomatic pressure. It strung out negotiations over multiple decades, all the while building its nuclear arsenal. Libya did agree to dismantle its nuclear program, but only when the alternative appeared to be U.S. military intervention. In contrast, Israeli airstrikes destroyed both Syrian and Iraqi reactors.

Instead of its current policy (or lack thereof), the United States needs a “Plan B” that restores economic, diplomatic, and military pressure on Tehran. The Iranian nuclear program has reached a point where containment is not enough; rather, the United States needs to reverse the advances the program has made over the past two and a half years. The first step is to restore the credibility of U.S. military option through bold actions, such as the 2020 elimination of Qassem Soleimani, or destroying vessels that harass the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf. Washington could also enforce crippling sanctions, including using the Navy to stop Tehran’s exports of sanctioned goods such as crude oil and petrochemical products. If all else fails, and Tehran makes it clear that will acquire the bomb no matter what, then what is left is implementing a comprehensive plan to support the revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow Iran’s clerical regime.

The only alternative to Plan B is to accept the emergence of a nuclear-armed radical Islamist regime.

Dr. Saeed Ghasseminejad is a senior Iran and financial economics advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), specializing in Iran’s economy and financial markets, sanctions, and illicit finance. Follow him on Twitter @SGhasseminejad. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, non-partisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

Image: Shutterstock.

Japan and the United Kingdom Are Preparing for Great Power Competition

The National Interest - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 00:00

Since the beginning of the 2010s, the United Kingdom has developed its Indo-Pacific policy in pursuit of economic opportunities and expanding its security engagement. As part of these initiatives, Japan and the UK have developed defense and security cooperation since April 2012, when Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and British prime minister David Cameron issued the Joint Statement: A Leading Strategic Partnership for Global Prosperity and Security.

Against this background, on May 18, 2023, British prime minister Rishi Sunak, who was in Japan to attend the G7 Summit, issued the Hiroshima Accord: an Enhanced Japan-UK Global Strategic Partnership with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida. The Japan-UK Hiroshima Accord, a comprehensive agreement on bilateral cooperation in the field of defense and technology, is a milestone for further enhancement of the bilateral defense and security cooperation that has been strengthened over the past decade or more.

The Japan-UK Hiroshima Accord indicated the development of cooperation among defense authorities based on the Japan-UK Reciprocal Access Agreement that was signed in January 2023. In the accord, both countries will conduct more practical joint military exercises to improve interoperability between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the British Armed Forces, including the future redeployment of the UK’s aircraft carrier strike group to the Indo-Pacific.

It is also noteworthy that the accord positioned Japan-UK defense cooperation within multilateral frameworks such as the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) initiative and the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Partnership. On March 13, 2023, the UK released a new foreign and security policy paper, “Integrated Review Refresh 2023: Responding to a more contested and volatile world” (IR23), with an eye on rising China. In it, the UK positioned its Indo-Pacific policy as “a permanent pillar of the UK’s international policy” in the context of the Japan-led FOIP and the NATO-led Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific partnerships. Such a British Indo-Pacific policy in IR23 was also reflected in the Japan-UK Hiroshima Accord.

However, in the history of Japan-UK defense and security cooperation, the two countries have consistently pursued cooperation in the field of defense equipment and technology. Of the eight defense and security cooperation items agreed upon in the 2012 Japan-UK Joint Statement, three were related to defense equipment and technology. On this basis, Japan concluded an Agreement for the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology with the UK in July 2013. Within this framework, Japan and the UK promoted defense equipment and technology cooperation, culminating in the announcement of the Joint Leaders' Statement on the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), a Japan-UK-Italy joint development plan for fighter aircraft, in December 2022.

On the other hand, given the importance of economic security in the face of intensifying great power competition, the Japan-UK Hiroshima Accord included a section entitled “Economic Prosperity and Security Underpinned by Science, Technology and Innovation,” which called for the establishment of a more comprehensive science and technology cooperation framework beyond purely defense technology. To do so, that section announces the establishment of a Ministerial Dialogue Framework between Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the UK’s Department for Business and Trade (DBT) to facilitate comprehensive cooperation between Japan and the UK in the areas of supply chain resilience, access to critical natural resources, semiconductors, digital data, AI, and health sciences.

The accord also states that these efforts will be facilitated by “a new Industrial Science, Innovation and Technology Implementing Arrangement” that will include not only relevant ministries but also the private sector, education, and research institutions. A press release issued by Sunak on May 17, 2023, the day before the launch of the Japan-UK Hiroshima Accord, announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group to the Indo-Pacific in 2025 and also noted the strategic relationship between Imperial College London and the University of Tokyo, as well as technical cooperation with Japanese private companies such as Hitachi Ltd. and Fujitsu. These remarks suggest that the development of bilateral cooperation on industrial science, technology, and innovation has already made considerable progress.

Thus, the Japan-UK Hiroshima Accord is a joint declaration by Japan and the UK on the efforts to prepare for the irreversible reorganization of global supply chains and international joint research networks in the context of economic security under great power competition. In other words, the release of the Japan-UK Accord means that defense and security cooperation has gone beyond the framework of diplomatic and defense authorities to reach a stage where it extends to the entire society of both countries.

Shingo Nagata is a visiting researcher at the Institute of Human and Social Sciences, Kanazawa University, Japan. He also serves as an editorial board member of the Japan Society of Strategic Studies.

Image: Shutterstock.

To Compete with China, Promote Internet Freedom from Space

The National Interest - Thu, 01/06/2023 - 00:00

In June 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally designated Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturers Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, effectively banning their equipment in the United States. “We cannot treat Huawei and ZTE as anything less than a threat to our collective security,” commented FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. “America has turned the page on the weak and timid approach to Communist China of the past … and our efforts will not stop here.”

Now, the world is facing a new threat from telecom providers backed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But this time the threat resides not in cell phone towers, but in low-earth orbit.

The satellite internet industry has experienced a boom in recent years and competition is beginning to heat up. The CCP has selected its national champion and plans to launch nearly 13,000 satellites, with the intent of further expanding its influence in the developing world. If the United States and its allies are to counterbalance China’s growing influence and promote internet freedom internationally, it is imperative that the U.S. create a regulatory ecosystem that fosters domestic competition in satellite internet.

Less than a decade ago, satellite internet networks offered relatively spotty, low-speed service that was ill-fitted for mass commercial uptake. But in 2019, SpaceX’s Starlink was the first to take a new approach. Rather than operating a low number of high-flying satellites as others had done, SpaceX took advantage of declining launch costs, thanks in part to its successful Falcon 9, to begin launching constellations consisting of a large number of satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO). These new LEO satellite internet networks have proven to be a gamechanger, offering consumers service with higher throughput, lower latency, and more global coverage than older networks.

With nearly 3,500 active satellites and more than 1 million subscribers, Starlink is reaping the benefits of being the first mover. But it isn’t the only project vying for this growing market. London-based OneWeb has nearly completed the first phase of its satellite constellation and projects that it will have global coverage by the end of the year. Amazon’s Project Kuiper plans to launch its first satellites early next year and to begin providing services to consumers soon after.

Then there’s China’s planned constellation. Alarmed by the speed and size of Western satellite constellations, China’s response to Western innovations became clear in late 2020 when the country submitted a spectrum allocation filing with the International Telecommunication Union—a branch of the United Nations charged with coordinating issues related to telecommunications networks. This filing indicated for the first time China’s plans to establish its own “megaconstellation” in LEO. The CCP contemporaneously added satellite internet to a list of “new infrastructure” projects that are the targets for significant investment, research, and development. Not long after, the state-owned China Satellite Network Group was established “to oversee the constellation project known as ‘Guowang.’” This new project fits squirrely within the CCP’s ongoing strategy for exporting internet and communications technology around the world.

For more than a decade, the CCP has been engaged in what the Council on Foreign Relations described as “one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever conceived.” Known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this project is a collection of development projects and investments across the globe directly funded or financed by China. Foreign policy and national security experts regularly warn that the BRI is a thinly veiled exercise in sharp power where the Chinese government continually leverages BRI projects and investments to increase economic dependence and its political influence abroad.

One major component of the BRI is telecommunications networks. Dubbed the Digital Silk Road, China has invested heavily in building telecom infrastructure, particularly in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. As a report from the Democratic staff of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations warned in 2020, “China’s rise as a key player in the digital domain that uses its influence to promote digital authoritarianism presents fundamental security, privacy, and human rights concerns for the United States and the international community at large.”

As that report and others have explained, telecom networks are an essential component of Chinese digital authoritarianism. While we often think of authoritarian censorship and surveillance as taking place on applications and platforms, much of this censorship instead happens on the networks that run these applications. CCP authorities actively monitor nearly all internet traffic running through their networks and use this surveillance apparatus to oppress domestic populations and propagandize to foreign countries.

Meanwhile, the lack of reliable internet infrastructure remains a major obstacle to development in many areas of the world. Traditional broadband connectivity is often limited or nonexistent in remote areas, hindering economic progress and knowledge exchange. By leveraging satellite internet technology, China aims to overcome these barriers and extend ubiquitous connectivity to the farthest reaches of the developing world.

Once established, these services will be used by the CCP in ways that expand its influence over and surveillance of the developing world. As highlighted in the most recent threat assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, China is on pace to “achieve world-class status in all but a few space technology areas,” including LEO-based satellite internet by 2030, and will use these technologies “to advance its global standing and strengthen its attempts to erode U.S. influence across military, technological, economic, and diplomatic spheres.”

China’s strategy for building a tech industry that rivals that of the Western world is to designate certain entities as “national champions,” giving these entities near-monopolies over certain industries, and then backing them to the hilt. This strategy spurred the rise of Huawei, Tencent, Bytedance, and other companies. While this approach has its benefits, competition is more likely to drive innovation and technological advancement over time. Multiple competitors vying for market share drive companies to push boundaries, invest in research and development, and expand into new markets, ultimately benefiting users in the developing world. In this way, strong domestic competition is a key component of winning the international competition for digital preeminence and safeguarding global internet freedom.

There are several ways that the United States could support competition in the satellite internet industry. One agency already endeavoring to do so is the FCC. In late 2021, the FCC began a series of actions intended to support spectrum sharing and coordination between satellite internet providers. As FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel commented, “the rush to develop these new space opportunities requires new rules that keep competition and innovation front of mind. … We want to make sure [the rules] create a level playing field for new competitors.”

Now, the FCC is continuing this effort with further actions seeking to promote domestic competition. As the American satellite industry faces international competition from China, promoting spectrum sharing and coordination allows domestic satellite companies to optimize their use of available spectrum resources, which strengthens their ability to compete globally and deploy service to the developing world.

Beyond spectrum sharing, the FCC should take further steps to promote domestic competition amongst satellite internet providers. One area worth examining is the eligibility of satellite internet providers for certain federal programs. Starlink made headlines last year when the FCC awarded it over $855 million under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction only to then have those funds later revoked. While the FCC pointed to the fact that Starlink’s upload speeds fell “well below” the required 20 Mbps, questions remain about why and whether Stalink should have been excluded from receiving these funds, leading the company to appeal the FCC’s decision.

RDOF is only one of the numerous programs run through the Universal Service Fund (USF). To create clear rules that put domestic competition and innovation front of mind, the FCC should clarify standards and benchmarks for when satellite internet services have sufficient quality to become eligible for USF programs. Furthermore, the Federal Aviation Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, which are both involved in the licensing and regulation of the satellite internet industry, should follow the FCC’s lead and examine ways to promote domestic competition through standards-setting and streamlining regulatory compliance.

When it comes to countering China’s growing digital authoritarianism abroad, one of America’s most potent weapons continues to be its commitment to free and fair competition. Promoting domestic competition in the satellite internet industry is a critical aspect of geopolitical competition with China and an essential element in the pursuit of global internet freedom. If the United States does not proactively support its own satellite internet companies and encourage them to innovate, it will continue to cede ground to the Digital Silk Road. With a few nudges from federal policymakers, satellite internet may prove a potent catalyst for socioeconomic development, empowerment, and the free exchange of ideas both at home and abroad.

Luke Hogg is the director of outreach at the Foundation for American Innovation where his work focuses on the intersection of emerging technologies and public policy. He is also an innovation fellow at Young Voices. You can follow him on Twitter at @LEHogg.

Image: SpaceX.

Ukrainian U.N. Ambassador: Russia Is ‘Mold That Invades Your House’

Foreign Policy - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 22:42
Sergiy Kyslytsya talks about Putin’s nuclear blackmail, what to do with the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, and how even Henry Kissinger can learn.

K-Culture Is Here to Stay

Foreign Policy - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 21:38
South Korea’s unique conditions make it an entertainment giant.

The Indo-Pacific Has Already Chosen Door No. 3

Foreign Policy - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 20:09
So-called fence-sitters are rejecting zero-sum geopolitical binaries in favor of multi-alignment.

Survivre au Yémen

Le Monde Diplomatique - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 19:51
En 2014, le Yémen est coupé en deux après un soulèvement d'opposants houthistes. Un an plus tard, une coalition menée par l'Arabie saoudite et les Émirats arabes unis intervient pour contrer cette rébellion. Et en 2019, un coup de force d'indépendantistes venus du sud divise le pays en trois. Dans ce (...) / , , , , , - 2023/06

The Stans Can’t Play Both Sides Anymore

Foreign Policy - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 18:36
As Russia and China grow closer, Central Asian leaders don’t have as much leverage—or independence—as they once did.

Erdogan Won by Exploiting Fear

Foreign Policy - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 18:19
In the midst of uncertainty, people stick with the devil they know.

La Suisse peut-elle rester neutre face à la guerre en Ukraine ?

Le Monde Diplomatique - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 17:50
Tandis que le conflit en Ukraine a conduit Suédois et Finlandais à renoncer à leur neutralité, les Suisses restent attachés à ce statut autant qu'à leur ancrage occidental. Si Berne participe aux sanctions contre Moscou, ses clients ne peuvent réexporter leurs armes d'origine helvétique vers Kiev. (...) / , , , - 2023/06

Au Salvador : « Sans corps, pas de crime »

Le Monde Diplomatique - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 15:39
« L'année 2021 est la plus sûre jamais enregistrée au Salvador », se félicite le président Nayib Bukele le 16 décembre 2021 . Sourire radieux, casquette vissée sur la tête, barbe finement taillée et bras écartés, celui qui se présente sur les réseaux sociaux comme le « PDG du Salvador » arbore une posture (...) / , , , , - 2023/06

Spying for Human Rights

Foreign Affairs - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 06:00
Why documenting abuses should be part of the intelligence community’s job.

Why Small Modular Reactors Herald a Nuclear Energy Renaissance

The National Interest - Wed, 31/05/2023 - 00:00

The modern world faces a conundrum: how can policymakers and nations meet rising energy demand while simultaneously protecting the environment from rising greenhouse gas emissions?

Doomberg—a widely-read writer and commentator on energy, heavy industry, private equity, hard sciences, cryptocurrency, and a host of other complex issues—recently attracted attention by making a provocative-but-true declaration that addresses the above question directly: “there is no path to significant decarbonization of our economy without a global nuclear renaissance.”

Yet such a renaissance may be in the works. A recent joint development agreement made by two companies provides some insight into the quiet revolution happening in the realm of nuclear energy, that scalable decarbonization is possible, and why policymakers should be more attentive.

The Xe-100 Deal

In early March of this year, X-energy, a leading developer of advanced nuclear reactors, and Dow, the chemical and material sciences multinational, made an intriguing announcement. According to the press release, Dow has agreed to place X-energy’s Xe-100 small modular reactor (SMR) at Dow’s UCC Seadrift Operations manufacturing site in Texas. The project’s state goal is “to reduce the Seadrift site’s emissions by approximately 440,000 [megatons of carbon dioxide per year].”

According to Dow, its Seadrift site “covers 4,700 acres and manufactures more than 4,000,000 pounds (1,816 tonnes) of materials per year used in applications such as food packaging, footwear, wire and cable insulation, solar cell membranes and packaging for pharmaceutical products.” Such a large facility with over a thousand employees requires a significant amount of energy to provide power, process heat, and steam, ideally while producing zero carbon emissions.

This is where the Xe-100 enters the picture: it is a high-temperature, gas-cooled, 80 Megawatts electric (MWe) reactor that can be scaled into “a four-pack 320 MWe power plant—with [its] modular design, the scale can grow even larger as needed.” 

X-energy and Dow’s new partnership signals that advanced nuclear technology can be implemented to abate carbon emissions in the industrial sector without sacrificing the bottom line. After all, it is traditionally difficult to mitigate higher carbon emissions in heavy industry. Yet this project has the potential to do just so, since nuclear power produces zero emissions during baseload generation. If successful, this would be the first project between two private companies, with some government assistance, to develop and demonstrate “the first grid-scale next-generation nuclear reactor for an industrial site in North America.”


How the U.S. Government Is Helping—and Preparing to Do More

Dow and X-energy are now working to submit a construction permit application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). But regulatory hurdles continue to be a tangled web standing in the way of advanced reactor deployment in the United States. Bureaucratic inertia creates delays, which forces utilities to continue burning more natural gas, coal, and oil for electricity in New York and New England. The Dow/X-energy project will likely not be an exception to overcome NRC foot-dragging; securing the building permit is estimated to go until 2026, with completion of the whole venture expected by the end of this decade.

Despite this impediment, nuclear power is at the forefront of clean energy options available. It is for this reason that the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) is not only pushing for this project, but also helping fund it. The Xe-100 was one of two next-generation reactor designs selected by DoE in 2020 to receive $80 million each for “initial cost-shared funding to build an advanced reactor demonstration plant that can be operational within seven years.” Since the award, X-energy has completed the engineering, begun the initial design of the reactor, and is working with the NRC, along with state and local authorities, on the licensing and development of a fuel fabrication facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Relatedly, the DoE named Dow a sub-awardee under the recent deal between the two companies, which “provides for up to [$50] million in engineering work, half funded by the [DoE program] and half by Dow.”

Other companies have taken notice of this new model of pairing advanced nuclear reactors with other hard-to-mitigate sectors. For example, Nucor, the largest steel manufacturer in the United States, is now considering using NuScale Power’s SMRs to power its scrap-based electric arc furnace steel mills, and has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to further that possibility.

Policymakers are also increasingly recognizing the viability of SMRs. The U.S. Congress is supporting these projects and future projects by considering passing the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act, which would “facilitate the development of the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors.”

Companies focusing on developing SMRs are intent on demonstrating that it is possible to build a new fleet of atomic plants that are smaller, easier to finance, and construct. If successful, the X-energy/Dow project and others like will show that these reactors can be used in a wide variety of settings, from industrial sites to remote military installations. For its part, if everything goes well with the Seadrift project, Dow envisions retiring its gas-fired combustion and steam turbines at the site.

This would be an astonishing development and would signal to the wider economy that the use of SMRs should be adopted on a grand scale. It is entirely possible that in the future the United States could achieve energy superabundance

With the Xe-100, and other projects in the development and MoU stage, it’s an exciting time for the U.S. nuclear economy.

Todd Royal is the Senior Project Analyst for E4 Carolinas, a non-profit energy advocacy firm located in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he is working on a three-year grant for the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration focusing on a value chain study for the advanced nuclear technology sector (Generation IV reactors, SMRs, and advanced reactors). Todd lives outside of Dallas, Texas.

Image: Shutterstock.