Blueprint for 100 new nuclear powerplants in 20 years

Your lifetime energy supply, a golf ball-sized lump of thorium or uranium – Credit Kirk Sorenson

Very interesting. Here is our second example (for June) of a legislator with real knowledge of energy policy. This is Senator Alexander Lamar [R-TN].

July 7 2009 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today told a panel of Administration officials that the United States should build 100 new nuclear plants in the next 20 years.

“Why are we ignoring the cheap energy solution to global warming which is nuclear power?” Alexander asked a hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), of which he is a member. “Over the next 20 years, if we really want to deal with global warming, we really only have one option and that is to double the number of nuclear power plants. There is no technological way to obtain a large amount of cheap, reliable, clean electricity other than nuclear power.”

And thanks to Iain McClatchie for the link to the white paper [PDF], which is a quite useful “executive summary” of why nuclear energy is the clear winning policy choice — provided that we can build the political support. The public support is already in place. Excerpt from the white paper:

All this does not automatically ensure success. For America to build 100 new reactors by 2030 a lot of things will have to be done right. Most important, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will have to issue licenses that will stand up in court. Public Citizen, the Naderite Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG), and Greenpeace are all loaded for action, challenging regulatory decisions every step of the way. These groups cannot be taken lightly. PIRG has branches in every major state, fueled by its raid of student activity funds at colleges all over the country. Greenpeace International has an annual budget of $150 million, half again as large as the UN’s World Health Organization. All these opposition groups are staffed with skilled lawyers and eager young volunteers anxious to make their mark on the world. Stopping nuclear power has been a near-religious vocation for opposition groups in the past and will be again. Fortunately, the opposition is concentrated mostly in the Northeast and the West Coast, where not much manufacturing takes place and where opposition extends to all kinds of industrial activities.

In the Heartland, people are eager to embrace nuclear power. The people who understand industry and its needs should be allowed to make the decisions for industry. Nothing is more important for manufacturing than cheap and reliable electricity.

Highly recommended. Read more »

Our first example of a well-informed legislator was Chuck DeVore.