The second major thing that needs to happen is the resurgence of nuclear power.To read the rest, click here right now. For the Commonwealth Club's excellent speech archive, click here.
Nuclear power presently supplies 20 percent of America's electricity. It is manifestly safe. It is clean. It is efficient and affordable. And it produces no greenhouse gases, which has to be a consideration at a time when concerns about GHG emissions and global climate change are running high.
As with refineries, no new nuclear power plants have been built in the U.S. in decades, a vestige of the incident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island in 1979. That episode spurred a number of safety and regulatory changes. As a result, nuclear power is even safer and more efficient than a quarter century ago. And it is still just as clean, which is why we need nuclear power to remain a key component in our power mix.
The energy bill Congress passed last week contains a number of provisions to ensure that this happens -- provisions that will augment the efforts of our Nuclear Power 2010 program to license new processes and site new facilities.
In particular, the energy bill includes a provision called for by President Bush establishing federal insurance to protect new reactor projects from economic harm resulting from regulatory and legal delays.
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