Skip to main content

Chu: Nuclear Must Be Part of Energy Mix

Not our headline – that of the AP story that covers Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s testimony before the Senate Budget Committee. A lot of the Senators there had no intention of letting nuclear energy slip away as a priority and Chu reassured them that it won’t.

Some money quotes:

"I believe in nuclear power as a central part of our energy mix. It provides clean, busload [sic: baseload] electricity"

“Closing the fuel cycle is something we want to do.”

Chu said he is ready to act on loan guarantees for the first group of new reactors and plans on "moving very aggressively to getting the money out the door."

"Nuclear is going to be part of our energy future. It has to be."

Read the whole story for the senatorial jitters – all good, in our view – and Chu’s remarkably reassuring performance. We’ve noticed that the Obama administration has displayed a tendency to roll back over an issue it’s passed by once – see the squabble over earmarks in the omnibus spending bill, for one – so, although Chu has never been particularly harsh in his rhetoric about nuclear energy, we now have to see if these soothing words are followed by effective actions.

Consider these tangles between Congress and the administration preludes to an energy policy. That’s where the tale will really be told.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I'm glad that Chu actually said that nuclear must be part of the mix.

One observation I need make is that recently T. Boone Pickens has been making his rounds on various talk and news programs pushing his wind program.

Is there someone that the NEI can put in front of the cameras to address the public via popular news and talk shows? This person would need to speak to the public in very simple and positive terms and I believe that would produce more public awareness and desire for what nuclear power means to the average consumer.

I am a homemaker who is married to a nuclear engineer, so I am biased on this subject. However, I believe that if you put the right person in front of the cameras, you will get the right results.
Pete said…
Words are good, but actions are more important. There were $50 billion in loan guarantees in the stimulus bill, but that $50 billion disappeared in the final version. Loan guarantees don't cost the government anything so long as the construction projects get completed.

With the new licensing process, where the Design Certification and Construction and Operating license are approved before any concrete is poured, the likelihood of the projects being completed is much better than in the bad old days.
It looks like the Senate Republicans have finally gotten serious about vocalizing their support for nuclear energy in order to help this country.

McCain did it last week and now other Republicans are joining in. This is the kind of bipartisanship that the Obama administration needs and probably wanted to hear, and the kind of support Dr. Chu needs from the Republicans in order for him to advise Obama on advancing nuclear energy and mitigating global sea rise.
Anonymous said…
I think that the main problem for the nuclear loan guarantees in the stimulus package was in the House of Representatives. Let's hope for a course correction there in 2 years.

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 …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …