WASHINGTON—Vice President Dick Cheney today said nuclear power “is a very important part of our energy policy today in the United States” and that continued advancements in the nuclear energy industry are vital to the nation’s economic and environmental future.
Cheney made his comments at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual conference here. In a 10-minute speech to 400 industry leaders at the Washington Monarch Hotel, Cheney noted that “one out of five homes in America today runs on electricity generated by nuclear energy … America’s electricity is already being provided through the nuclear industry efficiently, safely, with no discharge of greenhouse gases or emissions.”
Cheney’s appearance came just days after President George W. Bush unveiled his national energy policy report—a strategy that recommends “the expansion of nuclear energy in the United States as a major component of our national energy policy.”
“Bottom line, we think the policy provides a reliable, affordable and environmentally sound policy going forward with respect to our future. Part of that obviously we think ought to involve nuclear energy,” Cheney said. “It is important that we focus on that in the future just as we recognize that nuclear power is a very important part of our energy policy today in the United States.”
Cheney sought support for the Administration’s energy plan, including nuclear-related recommendations that call for extending the Price-Anderson liability insurance act, clarifying the power plant licensing process, and letting science guide President Bush’s pending decision concerning the location of a repository for disposal of used nuclear fuel.
“It is also important for us to remember that if we fail to do an effective job beginning with the relicensing questions and the waste disposal questions with respect to nuclear energy that eventually the contribution we can count on from the nuclear industry will in fact decline,” Cheney said.
NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Colvin said Cheney’s remarks provided “an exhilarating rallying point for the industry at a time when Americans are looking for energy solutions. The nuclear energy industry is poised to increase its role in the nation’s mix of electricity sources, and it was tremendously valuable—substantively and symbolically—to have Vice President Cheney speak before us today and voice the Administration’s support for nuclear energy technology.”
“We applaud the leadership that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are providing in recognizing that nuclear power is an indispensable component of our energy mix,” Colvin said.
Nuclear energy provides 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs and is the nation’s largest emission-free source of electricity. There are 103 commercial reactors operating in 31 states.
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 .