WASHINGTON—Given the nation’s pressing need for electricity from sources that reliably provide large amounts of electricity without polluting the air, nuclear power should continue to receive solid bipartisan support in Congress, Nuclear Energy Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Colvin said today.
Commenting on nuclear-related bills introduced recently in Congress, Colvin told the House Science Committee’s energy subcommittee, “These bills are good beginnings to address energy and human capital issues that have to be solved by our country.”
H.R. 1679, the Nuclear Energy Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001, was introduced in early May by Reps. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Charles Stenholm (D-TX). On Tuesday, Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced H.R. 2126, the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act. The measures, similar to bills pending in the Senate, are aimed at assuring that nuclear energy continues to serve as a linchpin in the nation’s electricity infrastructure for decades to come.
“More than ever, the nation relies on nuclear energy to meet the country’s soaring demand for power. There is no longer any question that nuclear energy plays-and will continue to play-a critical role in providing electricity to the nation, and I want to applaud Reps. Graham, Stenholm, Biggert and Baldwin, and the distinguished members of this subcommittee for their leadership and foresight in supporting nuclear energy,” Colvin said.
“Nuclear energy provides 20 percent of America’s electricity, powering one of every five homes in America. Nuclear energy also plays the most meaningful role in preserving the current 30 percent share of emission-free electricity generation in the United States, providing two-thirds of all emission-free power in 2000 … Nuclear energy contributes significant health benefits to people across the nation through the reduction of air pollutants or the avoidance of emissions.”
The resurgence of the nuclear energy industry in recent years-owners of 40 percent of the nation’s 103 reactors already either have extended or have plans to extend their plants’ original, 40-year operating licenses for an additional 20 years-is being driven by the nation’s “overwhelming need to maintain our diverse mix of energy generation and to meet the ambitious energy requirements of the future,” Colvin said.
One of the important ways that Congress can meet those needs is to support increased research and development in nuclear energy and nuclear technologies, Colvin noted. He also called on Congress to:
apply the best science to provide a deep geologic repository for used nuclear fuel;
provide a sound science policy on radiation across all levels of government and the industrial spectrum;
direct the Energy Department to assess nuclear energy’s potential to improve air quality and explore approaches that would provide fair recognition for non-emitting and pollution avoidance capabilities; and
collaborate with international partners regarding reprocessing of used fuel and fuel treatment technologies.
“Fair market treatment and science-based policies are needed to realize the full potential of this energy source,” Colvin said.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org .