New Biden WMD strategy includes small nuke reactors

Context: In February, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the first time certified a new small modular reactor designed for domestic use. The company whose design was approved, NuScale Power, has already signed agreements to deploy its small nuclear reactor plants in 12 countries across Europe and the Middle East.

“Nuclear technology is bending towards accessibility and affordability in a way in the past 10 years that I think we couldn’t have anticipated,” a second administration official added. Both officials were granted anonymity in order to discuss the strategy before it’s signed. “And so many more countries who have never pursued nuclear power in the past may be pursuing it in the future.”

Regaining the edge: The U.S. has long been a leader in establishing and maintaining nuclear safety standards, but with the rise of smaller reactors, “we have lost that edge now, and we need to regain it,” the first official said. “And we need to also ensure that as we develop these new capabilities in small modular reactors, we bring the same standard and capability to the global deployment of these reactors.”

What’s releasable: An unclassified fact sheet released Thursday explains that the strategy “establishes the first comprehensive policy for securing radioactive materials, which present continuing domestic and global risk, along with new domestic guidelines for the management and security of nuclear material.”

What’s not: The classified version of the report will incorporate all of the work the U.S. government is doing internationally to prevent and respond to nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological threats from non-state actors.