Less than a month after issuing a policy directive on space nuclear power, the White House released an executive order Jan. 12 seeking to promote the development of small nuclear reactors for space and defense applications.
The executive order, “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” includes separate directions for NASA and the Defense Department to pursue small nuclear reactors for their uses, while cooperating on common technologies for those systems.
For space exploration, the executive order directs the NASA administrator to prepare a report within 180 days defining “requirements for NASA utilization of nuclear energy systems for human and robotic exploration missions through 2040 and analyze the costs and benefits of such requirements.” Those requirements include details such as power levels, reactor size and mass, and specific issues associated with operating such reactors in the space environment.
The following is a full and unedited statement from the Press Secretary:
Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration
Today, President Trump is issuing an Executive Order on Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration, which 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 United States has used transportable nuclear reactors for nearly 70 years for functions like propelling aircraft carriers through the sea and enabling submarines to stay underwater for long periods of time. Using small modular reactors for national defense and space exploration will allow the United States to maintain and advance our leadership and dominance across space and terrestrial domains.
Small modular reactors have the potential to enhance energy flexibility and energy security at domestic military installations in remote locations. At President Trump’s direction, the Department of Defense will establish and implement a plan to demonstrate the energy flexibility and cost effectiveness of a small modular reactor at a domestic military installation, and will pilot a transportable small modular reactor for a mission other than naval propulsion for the first time in half a century.
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.
President Trump is committed to ensuring the safety and prosperity of the American people and industry. This Order advances that commitment through continued United States leadership in research and technology, innovation, energy development, and advanced technology.
Kari is an ex-Community Organizer who writes about Voter Engagement, Cultural Marxism and Campaigns. She has been a grassroots volunteer with the GOP, on and off for 18 years. She is a Homeschool Mom in North Carolina and loves Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism. @Saorsa1776