Friday, February 29, 2008

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

1 comment:

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.