Nuclear power on the 'front burner,' says Energy Secretary Rick Perry

The Trump administration sees nuclear power as "a very important part" of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday.

"Bringing our nuclear energy industry back, small modular reactors for instance, that's on the front burner so to speak," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on the sidelines of the SelectUSA Investment Summit, which promotes investment in the U.S.

Perry's comment offers some insight into the administration's spending priorities as it seeks to slash funding for Energy's research and development programs by 54 percent from 2016 levels. Offices that would see deep cuts — unless Congress intervenes — include those responsible for promoting energy efficiency and extending the life of nuclear power plants.

Nuclear reactors currently generate about 20 percent of the country's power. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that share will decline to 11 percent by 2050 as some of the nation's aging nuclear power plants retire, and due to competition from natural gas and renewable sources.

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