NEW ORLEANS—Nuclear energy has “a big role to play in the expansion of freedom” worldwide because the prosperity and economic growth that it fosters are “freedom’s ally,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans said here today.
“You cannot have a strong economy without available and affordable energy. It’s that simple,” Evans told more than 300 attendees at the U.S. nuclear energy industry’s annual conference.
Three billion people around the globe—one-half of the world’s population—must try to survive from one day to the next on a paltry income of less than $2 per day, Evans said.
“How are we going to lift up the economies around the world to bring those three billion people out of poverty in the decades ahead without affordable, available, environmentally preferred and sound energy supplies? Nuclear power has just got to play a critical role in that,” Evans said.
“For your economy to grow, you’ve got have energy – a diverse supply of energy.”
President Bush recognizes the vital role that nuclear energy plays for developing and developed countries alike—including the United States, Evans said. He noted that the United States is importing more for 55 percent of its oil and gasoline supplies, and nearly 20 percent of its natural gas supplies.
As volatile natural gas prices climb, industries that are dependent on the fuel source—for example, fertilizer and chemical manufacturers—are shutting down and U.S. jobs are being lost in those sectors, Evans said.
“Higher energy prices make it harder to compete. If we are going to bring relief by bringing on more nuclear power plants, prices would be lower, and we wouldn’t be burning as much natural gas to generate electricity. We would be using it as a feedstock and a raw material” for industry, he said.
Nuclear power plants operating in 31 states supply electricity to one of every five U.S. homes and businesses. They are by far the largest emission-free source of electricity in the nation.
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.