Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today told participants at the Tennessee Valley Corridor National Summit that “the United States should build 100 new nuclear power plants during the next 20 years” to put America on the path to clean energy independence.
He said, “One year ago, I came to Oak Ridge to propose a new ‘Manhattan Project’ to put America on the path to clean energy independence. The project would focus on seven ‘grand challenges’: plug-in electric cars and trucks, carbon capture from coal plants, making solar power cost-competitive, recycling used nuclear fuel, advanced biofuels from crops we don’t eat, green buildings and, finally, fusion.
“Today I am in Oak Ridge to propose that the United States build 100 new nuclear power plants during the next 20 years while scientists and engineers figure out these grand challenges. This would double America’s nuclear plants which today produce 20 percent of all our electricity, but 70 percent of our pollution-free, carbon-free electricity.
”Today there is a huge energy gap between the renewable electricity we would like to have and the reliable, low-cost electricity we must have” and “conservation and nuclear power are the only real alternatives we have today to produce enough low-cost, reliable, clean electricity to clean the air, deal with climate the challenge and keep good jobs from going overseas.
“Climate change may be the inconvenient problem, but nuclear power is the inconvenient answer.
“The way both to deal with global warming and to keep our jobs is to encourage what is being called the ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ and start making nuclear energy the backbone of a new industrial economy.
"Right now there are 17 proposals for 26 new reactors in licensing hearings before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That’s a start. But I think we need to go well beyond that. I propose that from the years 2010 to 2030 we build 100 new nuclear reactors to match the ones we already have operating.
“Just as we rose to the occasion in 1943 when we built this complex here at Oak Ridge, so can we rise to the occasion today to build a new generation of nuclear reactors that will provide clean, reliable power for America for the rest of this century. So I ask you here today to join in the task of bringing about this Nuclear Renaissance, in helping to generate the Rebirth of an Industrial America.”