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Trump Issues Executive Order for Small Nuclear Reactors in Space

Printable version / Version imprimable

EIRNS—President Donald Trump on Jan. 12 issued an Executive Order “On Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration.”A statement from the White House Press Secretary reported on how it “will further revitalize the United States nuclear energy sector, reinvigorate America’s space exploration program, and produce diverse energy options for national defense needs.”

The statement reminds us that nuclear reactors for ships and submarines have been in use for 70 years. Now nuclear power sources must be used in space. “Nuclear power sources are essential to deep space exploration, where solar power is not practical. The sustainable exploration of the Moon, Mars, and other locations will be enhanced by small modular reactors deployed from Earth for operations across the solar system. NASA will explore the use of nuclear energy systems for human and robotic exploration missions through 2040. As the United States develops new technology, we will continue to adhere to the highest standards for nuclear nonproliferation and safety.”

The only clinker in the statement, which further describes other features of nuclear power, is the expression of the use-value of small modular reactors for maintaining U.S. “dominance” in space.

Also this week, the U.K. has issued a statement of commitment to small modular nuclear reactors, including citing the involvement of Rolls Royce. [mgm]