Skip to main content

Policymakers Push for New U.S. Nuclear Plants

Several leading policymakers have made statements encouraging construction of new nuclear power plants over the past week. Here are some of these statements.

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, had this to say about nuclear energy in a speech focusing on America's energy challenges yesterday:
“In the decade since my address at Harvard, we have changed the face of the debate on nuclear energy. We did this by ensuring that it was framed in the context of how to advance nuclear energy, not whether we should… The clearest evidence of this shift in thinking came with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which included loan guarantees, tax incentives, risk insurance, and an extension of the Price-Anderson Act… Consider that today, there are 104 nuclear reactors in service around the nation. Together, they displace the same amount of carbon dioxide as is emitted by nearly every passenger car on the road in America. A future for nuclear power in this country will truly mean a brighter tomorrow.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said last week at an industry conference that he anticipates a significant bow wave of new public support for nuclear energy. “We are on the verge of an explosion of acceptance of nuclear power in this country,” he said.

Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, last week urged the nuclear energy industry to keep moving toward the goal of building new reactors as quickly as possible. “Nuclear energy is reliable, significantly improved in its safety and does not produce greenhouse gases,” he said.

Visclosky noted that he has fought for funding the loan guarantee and Nuclear Power 2010 programs but cautioned that both are intended as temporary measures to boost new plant efforts.

The loan guarantee program “is a tool to demonstrate to the financial community that the mists of political uncertainty [regarding nuclear energy] have dissipated,” Visclosky said. He also called on the industry to support the Next Generation Nuclear Plant program

Comments

Joffan said…
Visclosky describes the loan guarantee program well. It is not so much a support to the nuclear industry as a promise from the government (to investors) that they will not play havoc with the regulations during construction, as happened in the late 70s/early 80s.

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…