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Deputy Secretary Poneman Addresses Nuclear Deterrence Summit

February 17, 2010 - 12:00am

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Alexandria, VA - U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman today addressed the opening session of the second annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit and discussed the Department of Energy's commitment to helping achieve the President's goals of reducing nuclear dangers and expanding the use of nuclear energy in a manner that minimizes the risks of proliferation. 

The Deputy Secretary also spoke about the Department's commitment to management excellence.

Read the Deputy Secretary's full remarks.

Excerpts from his remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

On the Department of Energy's Role in our Nuclear Energy Future:

"As we consider our nuclear energy future, all three program areas of the Department of Energy will be involved:

  1. National Nuclear Security Administration: We are working to reduce nuclear dangers, maintain a strong, safe and effective deterrent, and minimize the threat of proliferation.
  2. Office of Energy: At the same time, we view nuclear energy as a vital element in building a low-carbon future.
  3. Office of Science: Science and technology underpin our security and energy efforts and are at the core of everything we do - from maintaining our deterrent, to ensuring the safe operation of the current generation of nuclear power stations, to exploring new technologies."

On Expanding Peaceful Nuclear Energy:

"If nuclear energy is to fulfill its promise to help put us on the path to a low-carbon future, we must do all that we can to minimize the risk that the expansion of nuclear energy might also lead to dangerous technologies and materials falling into the wrong hands. That is why, in Prague, President Obama called for a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, 'so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation.'"

"The United States is taking steps to build that international framework.There are a number of complex and challenging issues that would need to be addressed for this new framework for civil nuclear cooperation to succeed, but the year ahead should provide a number of good opportunities to discuss this with our international colleagues."

On Restarting our Domestic Nuclear Industry:

"In addition to our international efforts, the Department of Energy is also working hard to expand the use of nuclear energy here at home.  President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address that he is committed to restarting our domestic nuclear industry. This is a key part of our response to climate change.  But it is also clearly in our economic and security interests."

"Our loan guarantee program will help secure financing for the first group of new nuclear power plants to be built in many years.  So many people in this room have been working on this challenge for years, so I am sure that you shared our satisfaction yesterday in seeing the President announce the first conditional loan guarantee for the Vogtle nuclear power station."

On Management Reform:

"Management reform is the right thing to do.  The challenges we face are so great, the stakes are so high, that we cannot afford anything short of our best effort.Taken together, our management reforms comprise a 'Circle of Life':

  • We begin with our principles and objectives;
  • Translate them into plans, programs and budgets;
  • Support them through robust IT, a motivated and talented workforce, using performance-based approaches to safety and security;
  • Executed through best-practice contract and project management;
  • Monitored through transparent data; which
  • Feed back into evaluating our goals, where the circle starts again."

Media contact(s):

(202) 586-4940

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