When David J. O’Reilly, chairman and CEO of Chevron Corp., sat down to talk (sub. required) with reporters from The Wall Street Journal this week, he had all forms of energy on his mind—including nuclear power. Sitting in his office outside San Francisco, where gasoline prices are flirting with $4.00 per gallon, O’Reilly talked about energy independence. He labeled policymaker talk about oil and energy independence “unrealistic.”
When asked if it would ever happen, he responded:
“No. Not in the timeframe they talk about. We are actually going steadily in the opposite direction. We are not incentivizing investment in oil and gas exploration in this country. We are turning down coal-fired power plants because of concerns about the environment. We are slow to renew the use of nuclear power, so we are digging ourselves into a deeper hole here, in my view.”And it's not just Big Oil bigwigs who are interested in nuclear energy. Others in the petroleum sector support nuclear energy as well. Just this morning I heard from an assistant control operator at a natural-gas-fired power plant in California who said, "My passion lies in nuclear power."