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  • Guest Blogger: Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) on America’s Safe, Clean, Nuclear Future

    There is one thing that people across the ideological spectrum can agree on when it comes to the issue of energy—the United States needs to produce far more clean energy from a source that does not rely on the whims of tyrants in far off parts of the world.

    Fortunately, there is a technology out there that produces clean, emission free energy without the need for raw materials imported from unstable countries. Our green energy future is a nuclear future.

    I believe that we need to provide for a regulatory process that will encourage an increase in the production of this clean, alternative energy.

    Nuclear energy is a viable, clean alternative that can help strengthen America’s energy infrastructure now. But in order to make that happen, we need regulatory reform in order to speed up the process of approving new nuclear reactors, while ensuring the highest safety standards are observed. Our regulatory structure should be encouraging innovation, not stifling it. Nuclear power can reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy and reduce the emissions that come from burning fossil fuels.

    The United States gets roughly 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, whereas France derives approximately 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. There is no reason we cannot vastly increase the portion of our electricity that comes from nuclear energy.

    We need to fast track the regulatory process for approval of new nuclear reactors, reducing the time needed for approval to two years for reactors that meet certain criteria.

    Still we need to make public safety a top priority in any approval of new reactors. Any new reactor design should be certified and placed on or adjacent to an existing generation site. The operator of a new reactor should not have outstanding violations on any current reactor with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

    We should also task the NRC with developing regulations that will allow new reactor designs to compete in the marketplace. Customers have been reluctant to purchase new reactor designs because the NRC has not been well equipped to evaluate new designs. This has limited the available designs and reduced the competition in the reactor market, stunting innovation.

    With the NRC better equipped to evaluate new designs, the nuclear industry can begin researching, developing, and commercializing the new nuclear technologies that will lead to a nuclear energy renaissance.

    I believe we should also create a new National Nuclear Energy Council since today’s national nuclear policy on the federal level is jumbled and disjointed. The Department of Energy and the Department of State, for example, have different priorities when it comes to nuclear energy policy. If we want to truly advance nuclear energy, we need everyone on the same page. A national council could be tasked with coordinating the federal government’s policy with the needs of the nuclear industry in a manner that would help advance clean, safe, nuclear energy.

    With these goals in mind, I have introduced the a bill with bipartisan support, H.R. 3448, SAFE Nuclear Act, which stands for Streamline America’s Future Energy.

    There is no reason people across the political spectrum cannot embrace a future in which the United States produces a majority of its electricity from safe, clean nuclear energy. This clean, nuclear energy future would mean a more secure energy infrastructure and a reduced dependence on those who wish to do harm to America’s interests abroad.
    Though we may not all agree on issues like cap and trade, we can all agree that we need to find a way to produce the energy that fuels our lives in a way that is environmentally friendly and sustainable. Nuclear power fits that description, and the SAFE Nuclear Act will go a long way toward making that safe, clean future a reality.

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

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Guest Blogger: Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) on America’s Safe, Clean, Nuclear Future

    1. Bobbie Jay says:

      Of course nuclear is a clean energy source when used as such. Of course "fear" will be derived from the word "nuclear."

      Fear not, it is safe when properly handled for the proper intent. The industry will have to discriminate backgrounds of hire-es, as this can become dangerous to ALL when unethical intent of some, want a job with "nuclear."

    2. Bill, Forney, TX says:

      … Nuclear reactors have a proven, safe 50-year history in the US Navy. When you watch video of a submarine breaking through the ocean surface at a 30 degree angle and "flopping" to a stop, that was a nuclear reactor powering it and going for the ride. Our aircraft carriers have also been nuclear powered for over 30 years. If a plant can work safely in the harsh ocean environment, a stable land site is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the kooks who protest outside new nuclear plants (last one was 35 years ago?) are lacking in this cranial capacity … and there are no windmill vanes to kill our migratory birds either …

    3. Ron in Burton, MI says:

      Hi' I have always thought that the only reason we have not gone

      to nuclear power was due to the fanatIcal fear of the left fueled by liberal Hollywood doomsday films having a premise based on

      fear and paranoia rather than facts. While France does indeed

      have nearly 80% nuclear produced power, it is a very small country

      landwise. We would need to ramp up construction of reactors, which would take decades before any power could be produced.

      We should start immediately and remind the left that we would not have to wait had it not been for their paranoia.

    4. Tim Az says:

      I appears that Pitts has signed on to socialists global warming engine that drives their cause. What a pitty he's just another Arlen Specter. For shame for shame. How's that hope and change working out for you Pennsylvanian's?

    5. BigJoe in TN says:

      Nuclear power is safe. The NRC should specify that all new nuclear plants be built exactly alike to the best standard design. This would be the most efficient approach to take from the standpoint of design, material procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the plants. This is the voice of experience, I worked in nuclear plants for 25 years.

    6. Richard Fletcher, Sa says:

      I can agree more with representative Pitts on this matter,we have the technology, all we need is the streamlined safety rules to get new plants online.

    7. Gray_Stroke in the R says:

      FYI Westinghouse and GE next generation of reactors are standardized reactor designs. The early days was a knee jerk reaction of modifying all the reactors thanks to TMI. Realistically this was a blessing in disguise.

      From this came procedures, process controls, standardized training called Systematic Approach to Training (The NASA model); Human Performance tools to reduce Human Performance events, Emergency Response Drills that test our ability to mitigate unforeseen events. The list is a long one. We have just finished a world record of FIVE consecutive back to back runs on our two units without a reactor trip. That record will last for years. We did not have a vision of setting records; but one of operating with excellence and integrity and setting a culture of questioning attitudes and "asking what ifs". The net result was five full fuel cycles w/o a trip. Now we have to be cautious about bragging because this is not about bragging but about sharing how a work culture can be fostered to promote a safe environment to run commercial power safely and economically. We know the public watches every move our industry takes. We take our profession seriously and realize the public depends on us.

      So yes we can operate more commercial units and should. You leftist can thank Jimmy Carter (who killed the Army Nuclear Program while I was attending the Army School.). President Carter also made it unlawful to recycle our fuel and thus not allowing us to extend our resources like France presently enjoys.

      The only contribution a Leftist ideologue has contributed over the last 80 years up to the present is the progressive culture of entitlements and a presently bankrupted economy. Oh yes and that means both Parties, one is just more honest about it then the GOP.

      Drill here, Drill Now pay less; build nukes and retract our begger hand from the middle east…… oh you leftist don't like independence too bad..

    8. Jerry from Chicago says:

      I couldn't agree more. We need to take that unspent Stimulus money and use it to build 25 to 30 new nuclear power plants around the country. It would put tens of thousands of people back to work.

      We should start drilling offshore and in Alaska. We should build more refineries. We should begin a transition from gasoline to natural as to fuel automobiles over a five year period of time. The transition from gasoline to natural gas in automobiles is relatively simple and inexpensive. Fueling stations would have to provide natural gas as fuel, in additional to gasoline until the transition was complete for automobiles and light trucks. They could continue to carry deisel fuel for heavy trucks until a suitable alternative could be produced.

      All of these efforts would reduce our dependency on foreign oil and would put hundreds of thousands back to work.

    9. John Meacham, Califo says:

      If somehow, someway an Utility company would propose a reactor to provide energy it would bring "Hannoi Jane" out of retirement to make another movie "China Syndrome II". Thus putting reactor design back another fifty or sixty years.

      I worked in and on power plants and any time you have large amounts of energy in one place a hazard exists of that energy under un-controlled release. Either a reactor or a oil fired plant is a hazard if that energy is released in an un-contolled manner.

    10. Howard hart VA says:

      BRAVO for Cong. Pitts.

      Only fanatic tree huggers will oppose – with bad data and scare tactics. We will all pay for it if the crazy "environmentalists" prevail.

    11. Jackson, Dallas, TX says:

      The Japanese have nuke plants in the middle of their highly populated cites – not much choice if you live on and island and have no oil or coal. The USS Enterprise which I served on as a nuke trained power plant engineer was commissioned in 1961 and has been operating safely for nearly 5 decades. Diablo Canyon in CA has been on line many years with high reliability and safety. So long as the "chicken little's" of the USA shriek about the nuclear winter, we will continue to depend on fossil fuel from America-hating tyrants…

    12. Donna Shepherd, Ohio says:

      Obama atated that Iran has the right to nuclear energy, Why can't the U.S.A. have the same right?

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