US agency ends ban, will now finance advanced nuclear projects abroad

The US International Development Finance Corporation has ended a ban on financing nuclear power projects and “will prioritize the support of advanced nuclear technology in emerging and frontier markets,” the federal agency said in a statement July 23, 2020.  The revised policy “recognizes the vast energy needs of developing countries as well as new and advanced technologies such as small modular reactors and microreactors that could be particularly impactful in these markets,” DFC added.

Intriguingly, the policy shift reflects a change to DFC’s Environmental and Social Policy and Procedures (click to download a PDF of this document dated July 2020) to enable the support of nuclear power projects and align the definition of renewable energy with the United States Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) definition.  Which raises the question: How does the EIA define “renewables?”

The statement further reads: “Modernizing DFC’s nuclear energy policy will help deliver a zero-emission, reliable, and secure power source to developing countries in order to promote economic growth and affordable energy access in underserved communities. This change will also offer an alternative to the financing of authoritarian regimes while advancing U.S. nonproliferation safeguards and supporting U.S. nuclear competitiveness.”

Read the DFC’s announcement entitled “DFC Modernizes Nuclear Energy Policy” on its website, where there are links to further information about the public input process. See the S&P Global Platts report here.