Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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.


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.

Marcel F. Williams said...

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.