Alexander: Country Could Lose Half Of Our Carbon-Free Nuclear Generation In 20 Years

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

At the first of two planned oversight hearings on the future of nuclear power Senator Lamar Alexander, who leads the Senate appropriations subcommittee overseeing federal energy and water funding, said Wednesday that nuclear power is the “nation’s best source of low-cost, reliable, safe, and pollution-free electricity” and that Congress should take four specific steps to ensure its future development: replacing or safely extending the use of some current reactors, solving the nuclear waste stalemate, doubling funding for basic energy research, and ending wasteful subsidies for mature technologies.

“The United States uses about 25 percent of all electricity in the world to power our industries, our computers, our homes and most everything else we depend upon. Our 100 nuclear reactors provide about 20 percent of that electricity – which doesn’t turn on or off when the wind blows or the sun shines and is available 90 percent of the time. It is cheap, reliable and safe. At a time when the science academies of 20 developed countries and many Americans say climate change is a threat – and that humans are a significant cause of that threat – nuclear power provides about 60 percent of our country’s carbon-free electricity. It is our nation’s best source of low-cost, reliable, safe and pollution-free electricity, and it must be part of our energy future.”

Sen. Alexander detailed the four steps the U.S. should take to secure the future of nuclear power at the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

On building more U.S. nuclear reactors, Sen. Alexander said, “I have suggested we build 100 new nuclear reactors in the United States. The Center for Strategic and International Studies has said up to 25 of our 100 nuclear reactors could close by 2020. Add to this a projection by the U.S. Energy Information Administration that about 20 percent of our current capacity from coal is scheduled to go offline over the same period. If that were replaced entirely by nuclear power it would require building another 48 new, 1,250-megawatt reactors – which would reduce our carbon emissions from electricity by another 14 percent.”

On solving the nuclear waste stalemate, Sen. Alexander said, “We need to end the stalemate over what to do with our country’s nuclear waste.  At a time when everyone wants to produce more carbon-free electricity it makes no sense whatsoever to undermine nuclear power by not opening Yucca Mountain to dispose of used nuclear fuel and moving forward with the pilot program Senator Feinstein and I have proposed to develop consolidated storage sites for used nuclear fuel.”

On doubling basic energy research, Sen. Alexander said, “Basic energy research is one of the most important things the country can do to help unleash our free enterprise system to provide the clean, cheap, reliable energy we need to power our 21st-century economy, create good jobs, and keep America competitive in a global economy. Doubling basic research could help us find a commercially viable way to capture and reuse carbon, or develop small modular reactors and advanced reactors, which are smaller and require less water to operate.”

On ending subsidies that pick winners and losers and make nuclear more expensive, Sen. Alexander said, “Washington has a bad habit of picking winners and losers – the most conspicuous example is the wasteful wind production tax credit. Last year’s extension, for 2015, cost taxpayers about $6 billion enough to double basic energy research at the Department of Energy.”

Sen. Alexander asked the hearing witnesses – U.S Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz; former Senator Judd Gregg, leadership chair of Nuclear Matters; and Jay Faison, CEO and founder of the ClearPath Foundation – for input on how Congress can support nuclear power and address the challenges it faces.



Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events For Oct. 23-27

TUES/24 East Brainerd Council Meeting 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Car Barn:  6721 Heritage Business Court Speaker: Steven Wagner, Erlanger Children's Hospital $12.   TUES/24 Grand Re-Opening of Food City 5 - 5:30 p.m. Food City:  7804 E. Brainerd Rd .   THUR/26 Reality Check - East Ridge High School ... (click for more)

Catherine Heigel Named Chief Operating Officer For Elliott Davis

Catherine Heigel, the former director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, has returned to Elliott Davis, LLC as its chief operating officer.  In this role, Ms. Heigel manages the firm’s operational support functions, including legal, information technology, human resource, marketing and communications, and firm administration. In addition, ... (click for more)

Man Shot Multiple Times In Cleveland; Jesus Teague, 14, Is Arrested

On Saturday, at 6:12 a.m., Cleveland Police Department responded to 1210 Elrod Place SE in reference to a domestic disturbance.   A man sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to Erlanger by Life Force. His condition is stable, at this time.   The suspect, Jesus Tyler Teague, 14, was located and was in custody as of 3:25 p.m. ... (click for more)

Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s All About People

The leaders of Hamilton County’s Mental Health Court held a heart-warming open house Friday afternoon and it was announced that just since February, the creation has saved the county over $3 million in incarceration costs. But to hear County Mayor Jim Coppinger or Judge Don Poole tell it, that’s not what is important. “Soon after the court started, a kind, quiet man I’ll ... (click for more)