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Nuclear Energy Institute
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NEI Reacts to President Obama's State of the Union Remarks on Clean Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president of governmental affairs, made the following comment in response to President Obama’s remarks on clean energy in the State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday night. President Obama said: “(C)lean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all—and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.”

“It was encouraging to hear the President lead with a call for an inclusive clean energy policy. Nuclear energy provides 70 percent of the nation’s carbon-free electricity supply and, especially if we are to develop 1 million electric cars by 2015 as he proposed, we’re going to need to develop every possible form of low-carbon technology.

“The President’s continued commitment to nuclear energy has reinforced the bipartisan nature of support for nuclear energy. This properly highlights as a policy issue the strategic importance of the United States maintaining a leading role as a developer of advanced nuclear energy technologies, for use domestically and for export to a fast-growing global market. The President, House Speaker Boehner and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have identified nuclear energy as an area of potential cooperation; it is a linchpin to the success of meeting the significant energy challenges that our nation faces.

“Even with a still-recovering economy, the Department of Energy forecasts a 24-percent increase in the demand for electricity by 2030. In addition, the electric utility industry must invest as much as $2 trillion in the electricity system in the same time period to replace aging infrastructure and accommodate new growth.

“There is an opportunity over the next few months, especially if the President and his team get involved in details, to work with Congress in a bipartisan way to make progress on a national energy policy that helps build a stronger economy for our nation. The President is providing important leadership in an area that goes to the heart of America’s economic and environmental well-being. Federal and state policymakers and the American people must be ready to follow, as we believe they are. The nuclear industry looks forward to working with the Obama administration and Congress to meet the challenges ahead.”