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Secretary Chu Discusses Nuclear Energy on Charlie Rose

Energy Secretary Chu on nuclear energyA tip of the hat to an anonymous NNN reader for passing along Energy Secretary Chu's appearance on the Charlie Rose Show last night. (See what you miss when you go to bed early?) The nuclear-related nugget appears at the 18:10-19:34 mark of the interview. (I do recommend watching the video, as the rush transcript below doesn't fully capture Rose's inimitable interrupting interview technique.)
Rose: Nuclear. Where are you on nuclear?
Chu: I think that nuclear energy should be a part of our energy portfolio in the United States this century. It’s carbon-free. It, we...
Rose: This century? It is now 2009.
Chu: Well, that's right. It's the beginning of this century. So, the reason I say that it is because it's going to take time to develop the transmission, and to develop the renewable energies, resources that it gets to be 50, 80% of our electrical power generation. And so...
Rose: In France, it's what, 80%?
Chu: France is a little bit less than 80% nuclear at the moment. Right...
Rose: But all fears you might have had about danger and safety and all of that have been...?
Chu: Well, no. I mean there are certain issues that I think...
Rose: Chernobyl and all that.
Chu: Well, the Chernobyl, the dangers are much less. The newer generation of reactors that are now being checked out by the NRC for licensing are believed to be much safer than the older ones and certainly...
Rose: And how long would it take you, if you made it a commitment to a nuclear facility plant today, how long before you could have it on the stream?
Chu: That's a good question. It depends on the licensing procedure. And so, the NRC is going through the licensing of these new designed plants by GE and Westinghouse, as an example.

Comments

Frank said…
It is unfortunate for this nation that Secretary Chu will not articulate definitive support for what he knows to be a balanced and sound energy policy - - the policy articulated by him and other leaders of our national labs in August of last year, when they signed onto a paper accurately and definitively identifying nuclear as a key component of a sustainable energy strategy for this century. Hopefully he is at least doing this within administration meetings.
Jason Ribeiro said…
What I see in Sec. Chu is a very nice man. He has the temperament that just doesn't say 'no' to people when they otherwise deserve to be told 'no'. He belief in science coupled with his accommodating nature, allows him to consider the problem that the pure renewables camp brings to him - 'how can we achieve a 60-80% renewable energy portfolio?' Rather than tell them 'no, you're out of your mind', he sees it as a challenging problem that science should be able to solve. He's said before that he supports nuclear, but again he's willing to accommodate the opposition's contention of its problems.

I'm a bit concerned for Dr. Chu. I hope that he doesn't become the "Colin Powell" of the Obama Administration where his voice is present, but nobody listens to him.

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