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Excerpts from President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Regarding Nuclear Energy

President Obama
Like plenty of folks in Washington today, we'll be paying close attention to President Obama's speech on climate change. The President will be giving the speech today at 1:30 p.m. U.S. EDT at Georgetown University. You can watch the speech via a live stream from

Copies of the climate plan were leaked to the media overnight. Brad Plumer of Wonk Blog has already done an initial analysis. Here at NEI, we've already taken a look at the plan and excerpted all of the sections below that contain references to nuclear energy.
With abundant clean energy solutions available, and building on the leadership of states and local governments, we can make continued progress in reducing power plant pollution to improve public health and the environment while supplying the reliable, affordable power needed for economic growth. By doing so, we will continue to drive American leadership in clean energy technologies, such as efficient natural gas, nuclear, renewables, and clean coal

Unlocking Long-Term Investment in Clean Energy Innovation: The Fiscal Year 2014 Budget continues the President’s commitment to keeping the United States at the forefront of clean energy research, development, and deployment by increasing funding for clean energy technology across all agencies by 30 percent, to approximately $7.9 billion. This includes investment in a range of energy technologies, from advanced biofuels and emerging nuclear technologies – including small modular reactors – to clean coal. To continue America’s leadership in clean energy innovation, the Administration will also take the following steps:

Expanding Clean Energy Use and Cut Energy Waste: Roughly 84 percent of current carbon dioxide emissions are energy-related and about 65 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to energy supply and energy use. The Obama Administration has promoted the expansion of renewable, clean, and efficient energy sources and technologies worldwide through:

• Financing and regulatory support for renewable and clean energy projects
• Actions to promote fuel switching from oil and coal to natural gas or renewables
Support for the safe and secure use of nuclear power
• Cooperation on clean coal technologies
• Programs to improve and disseminate energy efficient technologies

Looking ahead, we will target these and other resources towards greater penetration of renewables in the global energy mix on both a small and large scale, including through our participation in the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and accelerating the commercialization of renewable mini-grids. These efforts include:

Nuclear Power. The United States will continue to promote the safe and secure use of nuclear power worldwide through a variety of bilateral and multilateral engagements. For example, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission advises international partners on safety and regulatory best practices, and the Department of Energy works with international partners on research and development, nuclear waste and storage, training, regulations, quality control, and comprehensive fuel leasing options. Going forward, we will expand these efforts to promote nuclear energy generation consistent with maximizing safety and nonproliferation goals.
Also, recall that the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in March called on the White House to support the development of new reactor technologies and to lead the development of a nuclear fuel management program. Specifically, PCAST recommended:
Nuclear power requires special attention, as the Federal Government’s role is different than for all other technologies. Nuclear power currently supplies 19 percent of U.S. electricity. Achieving low-carbon goals without a substantial contribution from nuclear power is possible, but extremely difficult. Nuclear power involves large capital investments recovered over long time periods. Even if current market conditions driven primarily by low natural gas prices persist for a decade or more, it is important to eliminate obstacles now that would impede renewed commitments to nuclear energy as energy economics shift over time. Today, a critical issue is progress in nuclear-waste management, and we recommend implementation of the recommendations put forward by the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America’s Nuclear Future. Indeed, nuclear waste disposal needs to be addressed independent of whether nuclear power deployment continues. The recent DOE strategy document generally endorses the BRC and proposes a timeline for some key steps towards a functioning waste management system. Implementation is key.
That's it for now. Look for more all day long as we follow the coverage via our Twitter feed.


jimwg said…
Gee, I wonder just how wafer-thin that token slice of the pie that nuclear's gonna have in this energy "mix". So thin it's translucent I think. Sure, I think SMRs were mentioned -- but then one and two can count as nuke contributions too, right?

James Greenidge
Queens NY

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