Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Kerry-Boxer Hearings: Day 1

20090715_klobuchar_hearing_39 The first of three days of hearings about the Boxer-Kerry climate change bill in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)) went the way opening days often do. The Senators kicked things off with what were essentially position papers, with Sen. Boxer highly favorable to the bill and ranking member Sen. James Inhofe (R. Okla.) highly unfavorable. (Inhofe noted, “If we went full speed ahead, nuclear energy would supply 40% of our electricity,” with which we can but agree.)

Since all the speakers were Obama administration officials, the panel was highly favorable about the bill, too. Along with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff filled out the panel.

You can read about their invariably positive thoughts about the legislation in this New York Times story, but here’s Chu:

“When the starting gun sounded on the clean energy race, the United States stumbled, but I remain confident that we can make up the ground. When we gear up our research and production of clean energy technologies, we can still surpass any other country.”

The nuclear takeaway was somewhat muted, but so were most other energy sources (Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) really likes solar energy, though). The discussion stayed a bit more abstract and focused more on the efficacy of the bill.

None-the-less, there was an interesting exchange between Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who supports increased use of nuclear energy, and Chu:

Klobuchar: If we only relied on nuclear, what would be the time frame for that? I guess what I’m getting at, we might need a combination of things, things that move quicker.

Chu: We are pressing very, very hard on getting the first of the – we have authorized 18.5 billion dollars in nuclear loans. That is able to start three maybe four depending on foreign partners – four nuclear reactors at most. So we are working very, very hard. Hopefully, we can announce very soon the first of these and hopefully before the rest of the year the rest of them. This is the beginning of the start of the nuclear industry. Getting three or four going doesn’t really get it going, so I view that as the beginning.

K: So what’s the time frame for that, for when we’ll get that energy?

C: Those loans?

K: Yes.

C; We’re trying to shoot for the end of this year.

[…]

K: But when will we get the energy from it?

C: Ideally, it could be between five to ten years – from the time you get the go-ahead to the time when you turn the electricity on.

K: Thank you very much.

Chu doubtless means loan guarantees, not loans – the government wouldn’t be issuing loans only backing up commercial loans.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D. Minn.)

18 comments:

bruce said...

These handouts to the nuclear industry, I should remind people that the 18.5 Billion came from Bush's Nuclear 2010 Program. As the previous post demonstrated, Democrats still have enough spine to only vote for such handouts in the context of getting a climate bill passed. Not these pure industry handouts of the past.

DocForesight said...

I don't understand how the Sec of Energy didn't figure the gist of Sen. Klobuchar's question. She's simply asking how long it will take to bring these 3-4 nuclear plants on-line.

The unstated question, to me, is: Why does it take so long to build a design we already use and know works at 90% CF?

Sec. Chu fouled that pitch off, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Question: Why does it take so long to build a design we already use and know works at 90% CF?

Answer: Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Democratic Party.

Anonymous said...

Sec. Chu fouled that pitch off, IMHO.

I suspect everyone in the O-ministration has been strictly ordered to exercise "creative incompetence" when it comes to nuclear. Lip-service only.

Brian Mays said...

Actually, Bruce, the "18.5 billion dollars" will come from lenders, not from the government. The actual amount of money that has been allotted for the loan guarantees is much much smaller. These loan guarantees were authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, not the Nuclear Power 2010 Program.

The Nuclear Power 2010 Program is a DOE/industry cost-share effort that was initiated to test the new regulatory process for licensing new nuclear power plants in the United States.

Ioannes said...

Hmmmm....I'm not the only reader here who recognizes the implicit anti-nuclearism of the Obama Administration.

Hope you guys at NEI enjoy that before which you have ingratiated yourselves.

Sad - so very sad. McCain would have gone on to push for building 40 new nukes right away.

Anonymous said...

ionnes, it's been almost a year since obama was elected. get over it and quit whining.

Anonymous said...

When the loan guarantees get big enough, the loans themselves are issued by the Federal Financing Bank, not by the private sector.

David Bradish said...

When the loan guarantees get big enough, the loans themselves are issued by the Federal Financing Bank, not by the private sector.

If you mean in terms of a percentage then yes. If a company wants to receive a loan guarantee for 100% of its debt which makes up 80% of the financing for the project, then yes they have to go to FFB. If the debt makes up less than 80% of the financing of the project, then they don't have to go to FFB.

Ioannes said...

I just heard that the price of two nukes at South Texas could go up from 13 billion to 17 billion dollars. That's the Obama-Jackzo strategy: makes the regs so onerous and expensive that nobody can afford to comply with them. And no, Anonymous, I won't get over it. Obama is NOT my president. I didn't vote for him, I don't want him and he's an anti-nuke Marxist period.

Anonymous said...

whine, whine, whine, that's all you do ionnes. why don't you do something else for once. no one likes a complainer.

David Bradish said...

Ioannes, do you have any facts to back up this statement?

the Obama-Jackzo strategy: makes the regs so onerous and expensive that nobody can afford to comply with them.

Brian Mays said...

That's the Obama-Jackzo strategy: makes the regs so onerous and expensive that nobody can afford to comply with them.

I don't think that anyone doubts that this is the strategy of former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford. I, for one, would hate to see him appointed to any of the "blue ribbon panels" that the Democrats have been talking about this year, but I would not be surprised if he was.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Democrats in general and Obama specifically are (somehow) responsible for rising capital costs at South Texas and low capacity factors of the previous century.

Soon we'll be hearing they're also responsible for bad weather and the Redskins' losing streak.

And by the way -- What's stopping John McCain for introducing a bill in the Senate, and pushing it, to build 40 new nuclear plants? Nothing. He could, but he doesn't. That was purely campaign rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

"Obama is NOT my president"

Suggest you re-read, or maybe read for the first time, the US Constitution and newspapers from last November 5.

do you even accept as fact that President Obama was born in Hawaii? my guess is no.

Anonymous said...

"Amazing. Democrats in general and Obama specifically are (somehow) responsible for rising capital costs at South Texas and low capacity factors of the previous century.

Soon we'll be hearing they're also responsible for bad weather and the Redskins' losing streak."

Hey, turnabout is fair play. Dems blamed George Bush from Day One for EVERYTHING, from a supposedly "bad" economy to the fact that their crap stunk. What was the refrain we heard then, something like "It's Bush's Fault"? Now it's your turn, take a bite of the same crap sandwich you fed us, it's all Obama's Fault. You dish it out, you're gonna have to be man enough to take it. This is all on Obama now and his "Blue Ribbon Commissions".

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with much of what Ioannes writes, but still its pretty funny to read you other guys, who spent the previous 8 years vilifying Bush as an incompetent mouth breather / frat boy, now saying cant' we all pull together & support *our* president...

bruce said...

And by the way -- What's stopping John McCain for introducing a bill in the Senate, and pushing it, to build 40 new nuclear plants? Nothing. He could, but he doesn't. That was purely campaign rhetoric.

Haha, you Republicans need to realize you guys LOST the election. McCain can introduce any bills he wants, they wont get even a dozen votes let alone ever get through any house committees. Notice the Baucus bill, it doesn't even have a dozen Democratic party supporters. McCain is an apologist for tne nuclear industry who would have allowed nuclear power to go ahead in at least a dozen states by allowing Yucca to go forward.