Skip to main content

House Committee on Government Reform: Nuclear Is 'Only Sensible Path Forward'

The House Committee on Government Reform has issued a report aimed at advancing energy policies to sustain U.S. economic growth and reduce dependency on foreign oil and gas.

The report, “Securing America’s Energy Future,” recommends that nuclear energy become the primary provider of baseload electricity. At the same time, it calls for steps to reduce oil consumption, develop alternative transportation fuels and avoid use of natural gas as a baseload source of power.

Here are the key findings of the report:
• the current period of high, volatile oil prices is demand-driven, “and not caused by supply restrictions instituted by producers or political upheaval”
• given today’s tight global markets with little excess capacity, the United States is vulnerable to “catastrophic supply shock” in view of current geopolitics
• the United States must pursue production and conservation; these are not “either or” options
• reduction of demand for oil in the transportation sector is essential, as this sector consumes more than two-thirds of the country’s supply
• the government must strengthen corporate average fuel economy standards to help reduce demand for oil and enhance domestic competition
• in addition to developing alternative transportation fuels, the country must pursue aggressively renewable energy, clean coal technology and “next generation nuclear”
• in turning away from natural gas as a baseload source of electricity, the country must redirect its use in industries as feedstock or primary energy and not a “substitute for fuel-switching”
• nuclear must be the “primary generator of baseload energy, thereby relieving the pressure on natural gas and dramatically improving atmospheric emissions.”
Nuclear energy, the report continued, will “free natural gas supplies for critical uses in manufacturing processes, reduce electricity costs to the consumer, be emission-free and pave the way for drastically reduced petroleum dependency” with hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The report called the use of nuclear energy as the country’s primary source of baseload power “the only sensible path forward.” It strongly encouraged Congress to “acknowledge the centrality of nuclear power’s role as a solution” to global warming and climate change.

The report cited “diminishing” concerns in the scientific and technical community “over whether nuclear waste can be safely managed, and a “general agreement … that disposal in a deep geologic repository is achievable” and preferable.” In addition, the report advocated increased funding to develop advanced fuel-cycle technologies, make reprocessing more economical and address proliferation concerns.

UPDATE: More from Noblesse Oblige.

Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…