Issued on: January 12, 2021
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.