Senator Lamar Alexander 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.
He said, “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.”
Witnesses at today’s hearing, titled “Moving America toward a Clean Energy Economy and Reducing Global Warming Pollution: Legislative Tools,” included Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Alexander said that while the country builds new nuclear plants to provide cheap, clean energy, lawmakers could work on several other ways to put America on the path to clean energy independence including:
· Cleaning up existing coal plants: “I’ve said to Dr. Chu before, let’s reserve a Nobel Prize for the scientist who finds the way to deal with carbon from existing coal plants and we can either have new clean coal plants or we can have much cleaner existing plants.”
· Making electric cars and trucks commonplace: “Electrifying half our cars and trucks is the fastest way to reduce dependence on foreign oil and the use of oil.”
· Domestic oil exploration: “We should explore off shore for natural gas, which is low-carbon, and oil, which we should use less of but what we do use should be our own.”
· Mini-Manhattan projects for renewable research and development “to find a way to make some of these newer forms of renewable energy cost-effective and more reliable.”
Senator Alexander concluded, “Cheap energy not only helps create jobs, it is the fastest way to reduce global warming. A hundred new nuclear plants will reduce global warming faster than taxes and mandates. A low-carbon fuel standard is a more effective way to deal with carbon from fuel than economy-wide cap-and-trade, which would only raise prices and might not reduce carbon. We could begin to build nuclear power plants, and as they come online, we could do something about the dirtiest coal plants. I urge our committee and the Senate to look at the cheap energy solution if we really want to keep jobs in this country.”