An article in Foreign Affairs magazine warns against Western overdependence on the Russian nuclear industry. Russia offers all the services necessary to build and operate a nuclear power plant, including, for example, enriching the uranium fuel to run the plant after it is built. Many countries, including the US, rely on Russian nuclear fuel, as well as on conventional oil and gas from Russia. This gives Russia additional energy leverage against the West. Forty percent of of the nuclear energy produced in Europe depends on uranium from Russia.
The article stresses the importance of nuclear power as an energy source that does not contribute to global warming. It says, “As the IEA noted nuclear energy is ‘the largest source of low emissions electricity in the EU.’”
The article continues:
“But the West’s domestic nuclear industries have stalled in recent years, and so right now, U.S. and European nuclear companies are struggling to find proper alternatives to Russian and Chinese state-owned vendors. To catch up, their governments must craft an old-fashioned industrial policy based on investing in domestic manufacturing capabilities all along the nuclear supply chain. They will have to successfully demonstrate new nuclear technologies that they can then market globally. That means Western countries should increase funding for nuclear export projects through their own export-import banks and development financing, and also by pushing large investment and development banks to change their policies on supporting nuclear power.”