Skip to main content

Chu: Nuclear Must Be Part of Energy Mix

Not our headline – that of the AP story that covers Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s testimony before the Senate Budget Committee. A lot of the Senators there had no intention of letting nuclear energy slip away as a priority and Chu reassured them that it won’t.

Some money quotes:

"I believe in nuclear power as a central part of our energy mix. It provides clean, busload [sic: baseload] electricity"

“Closing the fuel cycle is something we want to do.”

Chu said he is ready to act on loan guarantees for the first group of new reactors and plans on "moving very aggressively to getting the money out the door."

"Nuclear is going to be part of our energy future. It has to be."

Read the whole story for the senatorial jitters – all good, in our view – and Chu’s remarkably reassuring performance. We’ve noticed that the Obama administration has displayed a tendency to roll back over an issue it’s passed by once – see the squabble over earmarks in the omnibus spending bill, for one – so, although Chu has never been particularly harsh in his rhetoric about nuclear energy, we now have to see if these soothing words are followed by effective actions.

Consider these tangles between Congress and the administration preludes to an energy policy. That’s where the tale will really be told.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I'm glad that Chu actually said that nuclear must be part of the mix.

One observation I need make is that recently T. Boone Pickens has been making his rounds on various talk and news programs pushing his wind program.

Is there someone that the NEI can put in front of the cameras to address the public via popular news and talk shows? This person would need to speak to the public in very simple and positive terms and I believe that would produce more public awareness and desire for what nuclear power means to the average consumer.

I am a homemaker who is married to a nuclear engineer, so I am biased on this subject. However, I believe that if you put the right person in front of the cameras, you will get the right results.
Pete said…
Words are good, but actions are more important. There were $50 billion in loan guarantees in the stimulus bill, but that $50 billion disappeared in the final version. Loan guarantees don't cost the government anything so long as the construction projects get completed.

With the new licensing process, where the Design Certification and Construction and Operating license are approved before any concrete is poured, the likelihood of the projects being completed is much better than in the bad old days.
It looks like the Senate Republicans have finally gotten serious about vocalizing their support for nuclear energy in order to help this country.

McCain did it last week and now other Republicans are joining in. This is the kind of bipartisanship that the Obama administration needs and probably wanted to hear, and the kind of support Dr. Chu needs from the Republicans in order for him to advise Obama on advancing nuclear energy and mitigating global sea rise.
Anonymous said…
I think that the main problem for the nuclear loan guarantees in the stimulus package was in the House of Representatives. Let's hope for a course correction there in 2 years.

Popular posts from this blog

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.

Huh?

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.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…