By its very nature, diversity is an attribute that we desire. Regardless of whether it’s the diversity of ideas, the colleagues with whom we work, or the options in any given strategy, diversity should be championed.
On the concept of diversity, most people ”get it,” but few recognize when we are on a path to lose it.
Such is the case in the electric sector. Many energy leaders from the Department of Energy, state public utility commissioners and other regulators only recently have begun to recognize the potential erosion of diversity in our electric supply system. This is due to the closure of base load power plants, including significant coal-fired production. Four nuclear reactors have shut down in the past year and others are at risk in competitive markets that have become skewed by layers of policy decisions.
Maintaining diversity of supply is a theme of a new NEI campaign, aimed on communicating the need for a balanced energy portfolio as well as underscoring the value proposition of nuclear energy in that mix. In the process of building a 21st Century electric grid, we must hold to the virtue of diversity of technology and fuels.
Nuclear energy has proven its mettle in that mix.
Today, Greenpeace Co-founder Patrick Moore, Transatomic Power Chief Scientist Leslie Dewan, and Georgia Power’s Mark Verbeck, who is managing the training of reactor operators at the state-of-the-art Vogtle reactors under construction, will join me at the National Press Club today at 10:00 a.m. ET, to talk about the future of nuclear energy, its clean air benefits and considerable economic development that accrues to communities and states with new reactor projects. We'll be live streaming the event via UStream.
This is only the start of a conversation that we must have on several levels, and I’m pleased that Leslie, Patrick, Mark and Vicky Bailey, former assistant secretary at the Energy Department and an industry leader for two decades, are joining with us communicate the importance of these issues.
Nuclear advocates also need to be be ready to aggressively defend themselves against those who falsely believe that natural gas and renewable energy is the ultimate answer to our total energy needs. And that may mean clearly pointing out the environmental dangers of natural gas and the capacity limitations and some of the deleterious environmental impacts of renewable energy systems such as hydroelectric, wind and solar.