Republicans in the House of Representatives have introduced the American Energy Act that, among other provisions, calls for construction of up to 100 new nuclear power plants by 2030 to meet America’s energy needs and environmental challenges. Following is a statement from Alex Flint, NEI senior vice president of governmental affairs, on the GOP proposal.
“The nuclear industry greatly appreciates the recognition of the role of nuclear energy in our energy policy and the role of many thousands of dedicated professionals who have made nuclear power a proven asset to the American way of life.
“The proposed legislation outlines an ambitious target of 100 new nuclear plants by 2030. There are scenarios in which it is possible for industry to have that many plants in operation, under construction or in the licensing process within the next two decades. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of the Waxman-Markey energy and climate change bill, 180 new reactors are needed by 2050 to meet the carbon reductions required by the proposed legislation.“It’s not a matter of whether our nation should build new nuclear energy facilities, it’s a matter of how many and how quickly we can get it done. This is a challenge. But it is one that, if met, would greatly enhance our nation’s energy security, economic underpinnings and air quality. Provisions to further streamline the licensing process for standardized reactor designs to three years, to jumpstart U.S. manufacturing of reactor components and to provide access to financing are vital to meeting the goal for nuclear energy in both versions of the House energy legislation.
“The economic and job-creation benefits resulting from this ambitious effort would be enormous. One hundred new nuclear plants would create as many as 240,000 construction jobs and 70,000 high paying permanent jobs to operate the plants. Each new reactor will generate more than $430 million in expenditures in additional goods, services and labor; state and local governments will receive more than $20 million in additional tax revenue; and by 2030 the federal government’s tax revenue will increase by more than $3 billion if only half these plants are in operation at that time.
“Nuclear power plants operating in 31 states provide more than 70 percent of all U.S. electricity that comes from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases or controlled pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. Adding more nuclear plants while aggressively pursuing conservation and expanding the growth of renewable energy facilities will enhance the diversity of the nation’s electricity portfolio and enable us to meet our growing energy needs and ambitious environmental goals.”