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Nuclear Power – A Key Solution to Cleaner Energy


03.22.19

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that nuclear power plants in the United States generated more electricity in 2018 than ever before.  In fact, the United States still ranks as the world’s largest producer of nuclear power, but further investment and innovation should be encouraged in this emissions-free energy source.

While EIA projects net electricity generation from U.S. nuclear power reactors will fall in the coming years, nuclear power still accounts for roughly 20% of U.S. electricity generation.  The Trump Administration has made the revival of the nuclear industry a priority and recently announced $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to complete a nuclear project in Georgia, where Energy Secretary Rick Perry noted, “The Vogtle project is critically important to supporting the Administration’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry.  A strong nuclear industry supports a reliable and resilient grid, and strengthens our energy and national security.”

Not only is nuclear power an affordable and reliable energy source, it’s also emissions-free.  Any serious efforts to reduce emissions from energy production to address the effects of climate change must include the continued use and expansion of nuclear power.

As Bill Gates has noted:

“Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

“The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

“Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious…

“The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.”

No persuasion necessary; E&C Republican Leaders agree with you, Bill!

E&C Republican Leaders continue to advocate addressing climate change in ways that focus on American prosperity and technological capabilities, including through the expansion of nuclear power.

And last Congress, E&C Republicans led the effort in the House to enact a law that will lay the regulatory structure for advanced nuclear energy and to modernize the regulatory approach to existing nuclear power.  Republican’s also led the effort in the House to pass legislation to ensure the advanced fuels for future nuclear reactors.  And they led work in the House to pass the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, which passed the House by a vote of 340-72.  By addressing the issue of long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel, this emissions-free energy source will be even more viable for the future.

Unfortunately, Democrats’ Green New Deal plan minimizes the realities of current American and global energy systems. It ignores fundamental societal needs for affordable, reliable energy. The plan dismisses clean energy technologies, like safe nuclear power, which again, has zero carbon emissions, that would be essential for any future energy mix to reduce emissions.

Similar policies to the Green New Deal are already being pursued across Europe with little success. Germany’s recent energy efforts show how spending billions to shift from nuclear power to renewable energy can increase emissions and utility bills.  Certainly not an approach that is good for the consumer.

E&C Republicans back sensible, realistic, and effective policies to tackle climate change and meet our nation’s needs for affordable and reliable energy.  Nuclear power should be a part of that solution.

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