The Nuclear Matters team was on the ground for this year’s Nuclear Energy Assembly (NEA) in Atlanta, Georgia. The event was packed full of excitement and optimism, featuring prominent speakers and eager networkers, all gathered together with the mission of advancing nuclear energy as a reliable, valuable part of the country’s energy future. If you missed this year’s conference or just want to relive the action, here are five takeaways from NEA 2018:
1. America is a leader in nuclear energy.
Did you know nuclear power represents approximately 20 percent of America’s energy portfolio? Nuclear energy is essential to meeting U.S. domestic objectives for reliable generation, economic growth and national security. Looking beyond the U.S., we must also continue to lead on a global scale. Energy Secretary Rick Perry opened the Nuclear Energy Assembly via video, reaffirming the Department of Energy’s commitment to maintaining U.S. leadership in the “peaceful use of nuclear energy."
2. We have a bright future ahead, powered by nuclear energy.
The Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI) President and CEO, Maria Korsnick, spoke about the wins the nuclear energy community has realized over the past year. Moving forward, it is especially important that we continue to keep the pressure on policymakers and influencers to ensure that nuclear energy is recognized and valued for its resilience, reliability and carbon-free emissions. That’s where Nuclear Matters advocates come in!
3. The next generation will drive nuclear innovation.
Nuclear enthusiasts are ready to bring an entrepreneurial spirit to take on the industry’s biggest challenges in the future. This group is making nuclear cool again and driving change across America in nuclear companies, plant communities and in state and national government. The passion and intelligence that this next generation possesses will fuel our industry for decades to come. There is no better example of this than the tenacity and dedication of North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) members, who are leading advocacy and community-building efforts in nuclear industry facilities across the nation.
4. Advocacy at the state-level has never been more critical.
Despite the reliability and clean energy benefits of nuclear, plants across America are under threat of premature closure. During the “The Nuclear Playing Field: A State-Level View” discussion, state leaders discussed the importance of state-level advocacy until comprehensive federal solutions are put in place. What better example than New Jersey? While the conference was in full effect, the Governor of New Jersey signed state legislation that would properly value the positive attributes of nuclear facilities in the state, ensuring the state continues to meet its clear air goals, preserve thousands of jobs and ensure a diverse fuel supply for the state. Thanks to advocates like you, policymakers hear from grassroots supporters and make informed nuclear energy decisions that benefit their constituents and the greater public.
5. Nuclear is essential to a diverse and carbon-free energy mix.
David Wright, speaking on a panel discussion about the “Atomic Economics” just days before being confirmed as a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), shared that nuclear energy is pivotal to maintaining the reliability of the country’s electricity supply. A diverse energy mix is the best way to ensure access to clean and consistent power across America and is a perfect partner for renewables. The exciting future of advanced nuclear technology that was on display throughout NEA is only set to increase the reliability benefits that nuclear brings to the table.