Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The State of the Union: What Nuclear Wonks Will Be Looking For

Alex Flint
The following post was submitted by Alex Flint, NEI's Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs.

It’s an age-old parlor game in Washington, hoping for a shout-out in the State of the Union and then acting all nonchalant if you get one, or like the State of the Union doesn't matter if you don’t.

President Obama has devoted some nice lines to nuclear energy in previous States of the Union. The best line (from my point of view, of course) was in 2010 when he said:
But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.
I’m delighted to report that five nuclear reactors are under construction today. Peak employment at each of those during construction will be about 3,500 people and, when they are completed (the first one is scheduled to come on line later this year), each will provide 400-700 permanent jobs.

Of course, it would be wonderful to get another shout-out this year. Fingers crossed, here’s what we might hear:
  • Today, about 15,000 Americans are building five new nuclear reactors to produce clean, reliable electricity, and unemployment has fallen to the lowest level since I've been in office.
But, more seriously, how about:
  • We are going to build a 21st century electricity system that is resilient, brings clean-energy to consumers across our country, and utilizes advanced clean energy technologies, including nuclear energy.
  • We are transitioning to a new transportation system that will feature electric vehicles at a scale unimaginable just a few years ago. To meet that increased demand for electricity, we will lead a major expansion of clean electricity sources including wind, solar and nuclear.
The White House knows, because the U.S. Commerce Department told it, that the overseas market for nuclear products and services is valued at nearly $750 billion over the next decade. As such, we are even hoping to hear something about trade and overseas markets. Maybe something like:
  • The market for clean energy technologies around the world is expanding rapidly, and we want U.S. wind, solar, and nuclear companies to lead the way in those markets. More overseas trade results in more jobs here at home in engineering, manufacturing and consulting.
Statements like these would help reinforce a continuing commitment to develop the full portfolio of clean energy technologies this country needs.

But there’s no way of telling what will happen until we hear the speech.

So, I’ll be tuning in Tuesday night to listen, to parse and to react just like everyone else. And I will be hoping, just maybe, to hear a little something positive about nuclear energy along the way. At the very least, it could give me something to talk about—nonchalantly or not—Wednesday morning.

1 comment:

jimwg said...

In a nutshell:

Yoo Hoo!

No nukes!

Period.

Like is ANYONE surprised??

James Greenidge
Queens NY