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NEI Statement in Response to Resignation of Energy Secretary Steven Chu

The following statement can be attributed to NEI President and CEO Marv Fertel:
“The nuclear energy industry extends our thanks to Secretary Chu for his service to the nation and our best wishes to him and his family in his future endeavors.

“The industry greatly appreciates Secretary Chu’s strong belief in the expansion of nuclear energy as a vital clean-energy technology for our nation. His leadership with regard to the construction of new nuclear energy facilities was important symbolically and substantively. This applies to the larger reactors that already are part of the backbone of our nation’s electricity grid, as well as innovative small reactor designs that offer great promise as a complementary technology.

“The energy, environmental and economic challenges confronting our nation make it imperative that Secretary Chu’s successor continue to recognize nuclear energy as a vital part of our energy and environmental policy. As a reliable provider of affordable, low-carbon electricity, nuclear energy is important both for the electricity itself and the many ancillary benefits: job creation, grid stability and energy security chief among them.

“Any future secretary must and should recognize that the agency has legal and contractual obligations to fulfill with regard to nuclear waste management. This includes continuing and completing the licensing review of the planned repository for used nuclear fuel and high-level waste from U.S. defense programs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Our next Secretary of Energy should recognize that his or her job will be made easier by moving aggressively to implement many of the sound recommendations made last year by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, notably development of one or more consolidated storage facilities for used nuclear fuel at volunteer sites, assured access to the Nuclear Waste Fund, and a new, congressionally chartered federal corporation dedicated solely to implementing the waste management program and empowered with the authority and resources to succeed.”


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Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

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