President Trump’s Executive Order on Bulk Power Systems
On May 1st, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on securing the United States bulk-power system. The President views the unrestricted foreign supply of bulk-power system electric equipment as a national security threat to the U.S. energy system. The executive order bans the use of equipment for the power grid that was manufactured by a company under the control of a foreign adversary, or the buying of any equipment that poses a national security threat.
The order also established a task force to protect the power grid from attacks and share risk management information to prevent interference. Members of the task force will include the secretaries of Commerce, Defense and Homeland Security, as well as the Director of National Intelligence.
The order establishes the Secretary of Energy as the official tasked with identifying equipment currently in use in the bulk power system that poses a risk and working to take out and replace that equipment. The secretary is also in charge of creating a list of “pre-qualified” vendors that are deemed safe to work with.
DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) tweeted in response to the Executive Order:
“Malicious actors have sought to leverage unauthorized access to the bulk power system against the U.S. for over a decade. At the direction of @SecBrouillette, CESER stands ready to work with its partners to secure the private and federal procurement of critical BPS components.”
Key statements of the order include:
- Foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in the United States bulk-power system, which provides the electricity that supports our national defense, vital emergency services, critical infrastructure, economy, and way of life
- The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities.
- A successful attack on our bulk-power system would present significant risks to our economy, human health and safety, and would render the United States less capable of acting in defense of itself and its allies.
- Unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in bulk-power system electric equipment, with potentially catastrophic effects.
- The unrestricted foreign supply of bulk-power system electric equipment constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.
- Although maintaining an open investment climate in bulk-power system electric equipment, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced with the need to protect our Nation against a critical national security threat.
The full Executive Order can be found here.
The US Nuclear Fuel Working Group and Its Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership
The US Nuclear Fuel Working Group was established in July of 2019 because the Trump Administration believes that America is losing its competitive global position as the world leader in nuclear energy and technology to state-owned enterprises, including Russia and China, and other competitor nations also aggressively moving to surpass the United States.
In April, the working group established the “Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership.”
The strategy recommends:
• Taking immediate and bold action to strengthen the uranium mining and conversion industries and restore the viability of the entire front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
• Utilizing American technological innovation and advanced civil nuclear RD&D investments to consolidate technical advances and strengthen American leadership in the next generation of civil nuclear technologies.
• Ensuring that there will be a healthy and growing nuclear energy sector to which uranium miners, fuel cycle providers, and reactor vendors can sell their products and services.
• Taking a whole-of-government approach to supporting the U.S. nuclear energy industry in exporting civil nuclear technology in competition with state-owned enterprises.
DOE’s press release for the strategy can be found here.
The full report can be found here.
US Nuclear-Power Leadership and the Chinese and Russian Challenge
The Howard Baker Forum participated in the creation of an issue brief titled “US Nuclear-Power Leadership and the Chinese and Russian Challenge.” Dr. Bob Ichord, Jr. a Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center authored the issue brief and “argues that US nuclear engagement abroad supports its military and commercial interests, and will do the same for China and Russia in increasingly impactful ways.”
For the full report, please see here.