Skip to main content

NEI’s Nuclear Policy Initiative

home_branding_logo We gave you a heads up the other day with some fact sheets that outline what the industry - and NEI – has been doing as hearings on the energy bill get underway today (Look at the Twitter feed on your right for some quotes coming out of the hearings. We’ll see about fleshing them out later).

Toward this end, NEI has released a detailed nuclear policy initiative outlining where nuclear energy fits into the climate change debate. And here, in brief, is where that is:

Analyses of H.R. 2454 [the House climate change bill passed earlier this year], the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House on June 26, by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) demonstrate that substantial increases in nuclear generating capacity will be essential to meet the legislation’s carbon-reduction goals.

All true. Now, anti-nuclear folks argue that nuclear energy tries to hoover up all available resources set in its path, leaving little for renewables and new technologies. This takes advantage of the undoubted fact that building a new plant requires high capital costs.

But the arguments depend on how legislation is ultimately constructed and how industries – all of them – that are helpful to a government goal partner with government to achieve an effective outcome.

Nuclear energy has a key part in any climate change legislation. And as you’ll see, it’s not all about money, anyway – a lot of it is about getting nuclear energy plants licensed and built in a timely way.

And let’s not forget the jobs:

A nuclear [energy] construction program will also breathe new life into the U.S. manufacturing sector, as it rebuilds and retools to produce the pumps, valves, vessels and other nuclear-grade equipment needed for new nuclear plants.

Tens of thousands of jobs.

Here are the bullet points:

  • new plant financing, principally through creation of a Clean Energy Deployment Administration that would function as a permanent financing platform;
  • tax incentives for nuclear energy manufacturing and production facilities, and work force development;
  • ensuring effective achievement of the efficiencies in the new-plant licensing process that was established in 1992 but is only now being tested;
  • management of used nuclear fuel, including limited financial incentives for the development of voluntary interim storage facilities for used uranium fuel;
  • nuclear fuel supply, to enhance the certainty and transparency associated with the disposition of government inventories on uranium markets; and
  • other areas, such as creation of a National Nuclear Energy Council to advise the Secretary of Energy and authorization of a cost-shared, public-private partnership to advance development and deployment of small modular reactors within the next 15 years.

We’ll have a lot more to say about this in the weeks ahead, but consider this the outline of the industry’s goals as the legislation is developed in the Senate. Take a read and see what you think.

Let’s note to that nuclear energy is scarcely the only group to present a detailed legislative initiative. It’s what industry associations do – openly and to the benefit of industry, sure, but the benefits are multiple, in this case even ultimate. After all, this is one of the most important issues today, speaking directly to the fate of the Earth. It just doesn’t get more important.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I'm currently at "Materials Science and Technology 2009" in Pittsburgh, PA. Yesterday, Steve Koonin, DOE Undersecretary for Science, gave a great keynote talk regarding the future of energy research in the US, and nuclear featured predominately.

John Marra, an associate director at Savannah River lab, also gave a brilliant talk that discussed how, even with massive increases in renewables, only through large increases in nuclear power (I think he suggested 370 GWe) to reach Obama's 2050 goals.

You should try to get copies of their talks for summary or publication here, they would fit in nicely

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…