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  • Guest Blogger: Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA)on Nuclear Energy's Role in America’s Future

    When skyrocketing energy prices took hold of America last summer, it became clear that developing alternative sources of energy was important to our nation’s economic and national security. Although talk of solar, wind, and biofuels have often dominated alternative energy discussions in the past, today more and more people are recognizing that clean coal and nuclear energy are both key to our nation’s energy future.

    As the representative of Pennsylvania’s Fourth Congressional District, I represent an area that has long been a national leader in America’s nuclear industry. Westinghouse Electric Corporation has its world headquarters in my district. This has given me a unique understanding of both the importance and the needs of the nuclear industry.

    It has been more than 25 years since a new nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States. While nuclear plants’ operating costs have decreased substantially in recent years, high construction and regulatory compliance costs continue to be a serious obstacle to building new plants.

    The federal government has taken some common sense steps to facilitate the construction of nuclear power plants in recent years. For example, the Nuclear Power 2010 Program has helped to cover the cost of seeking regulatory approval for new reactor sites, applying for new reactor licenses, and preparing detailed plant designs. While this is a step in the right direction, more must be done to ensure that our nation’s regulatory process is as efficient as possible. We must continue to evaluate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulatory structure to see if there are additional ways to cut red tape without compromising public safety in any way.

    To facilitate the safe and efficient production of nuclear energy, we must also continue to examine how best to store nuclear waste over the long term. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is creating a blue-ribbon commission to study nuclear waste management. On July 17, I voted for the FY 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, legislation that would require DOE’s commission to include Yucca Mountain as one of the nuclear waste repository sites under review. I want to make sure the government’s decision on whether or not to store waste at Yucca Mountain is made on the basis of scientific considerations alone.

    Despite the gains our nation has made in recent years in becoming more energy efficient, there is no doubt that our nation’s electricity use will grow significantly in the coming years. Given this reality, we need to ensure that our government is taking steps that will facilitate, and not impede, the progress of America’s nuclear energy industry.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Guest Blogger: Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA)on Nuclear Energy's Role in America’s Future

    1. George F. Vogt, Augu says:

      Hopefully Congressman Altmire's views do reflect the views of Heritage Foundation. Nuclear energy is safe, clean and the answer to our energy needs. Solar, wind and biofuels are a joke, played by politicians at the expense of the American taxpayer.

    2. Spiritof76 says:

      Congressman Jason Altmire,

      In order for nuclear energy to become viable in America, three things must happen.

      1. Common licensing, approval process for a class of reactors and power systems cutting the process time dramatically.

      2. Nuclear fuel reprocessing must be allowed just as they have been doing it in France and Japan. It will reduce the waste.

      3. Get rid of the trial lawyers, environmental extremists and the like that bring mindless lawsuits.

      Without those three as a minimum, there will not be any nuclear power plant built in the 19th century America living in the 21st century.

    3. Dave Chelsea, MI says:

      If only Green Peace would have associated nuclear power with nuclear medicine as opposed to associated nuclear energy with nuclear weapons, the U.S., if not the rest of the world would be in a better place environmentally due to nuclear generated power…..IF ONLY……..

    4. Bryan Kelly says:

      What has Altmire done to support the American Energy Act, H.R. 2828? He is not currently listed as a co-sponsor..


    5. Bill, Forney, TX says:

      The U.S Navy has got nuke power plants right. Have you ever watched a video of a submarine broaching the surface of the water and coming to a landing much like a whale? That was a nuke plant doing it! A stable land location proves even safer… if the French generate 85% of their electricity w/ nuclear, why can't the U.S?

    6. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      One thing is always been a certainty, Government and Intelligence do not mix well together. Here in Oregon, the Government is about to remove some of our Electrical Dams. These Dams generate 25% to 35% of the Electricity used one their grid, Oregon, Idaho, California, et al. Now None of the Government people can agree with any of the Environmental people about what to replace this lost electricity with! Can't use wind, solar, Nuclear, Tidal. They haven't even figured out the effect of fifty to seventy five years of sediment accumulation below these dams, affect on all living things down stream form the Dams, when they are removed! They haven't even figured our how to remove the sediment! All the Government knows is what the Environmentalist tell them and the Environmentalist all know that the Dams are just terrible things that have reduced the number of Salmon over the years that run up the rivers to spawn. What the Environmentalist will not admit is that is was they who had the government protect the Predators who ate the Salmon who swim up the rivers to spawn. Sea Lion, Seals, Certain Birds! People on the Coast can't even go down to their boats now because the Sea Lions bite them on the Public docks! Its like the Blind leading the Deaf. How are you going to know when you finally get there?


    7. R. Fred, Midlothian, says:

      I support all Renewable Energy Research & Development and would encourage all who have viable technology to develop it if possible, however, few have the resources or backing necessary for R&D. I have a biomass conversion system that will convert municipal waste into electricity very efficiently but can't get venture capital ($1 Mil.) to build a prototype plant. It will pay for itself in two years once operational. I am now trying to establish a Technology Development Center with private funds that will attract and fund entrepreneurs in the Renewable Energy Industry. If successful we will become an incubator for all innovations and/or improvements to existing "Renewable Energy" technology. Every little bit helps. For every 3 mW we generate, another 1500 homes get power and we do it one community at a time, pollution free, at $.06/kWh. I'm all for Nuclear if it can compete price wise and with out contamination.

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