U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today told Energy Secretary Steven Chu that “we should be as aggressive about expanding nuclear power . . . as we are with wind and solar” during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, of which Alexander is a member.
“In his inauguration address, the president talked about power from the earth, the wind, and the sun, which captured the imagination of a lot of people. But these sources provide less than 1.5 percent of our electricity today, and even if we reach 15 or 20 percent renewable power, we will still need 80 to 85 percent of base power,” Alexander told Secretary Chu. “We should be as aggressive about expanding nuclear power and doubling or tripling research funding to find a way to get rid of the carbon in existing coal plants as we are with wind and solar and other so-called renewable electricity sources because they do not provide base-load electricity.”
Last May at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Alexander proposed a new Manhattan Project to help America achieve clean-energy independence, outlining several “grand challenges,” including carbon capture and storage, making plug-in electric cars and trucks commonplace, safely reprocessing and storing nuclear waste, and making solar power and advanced biofuels cost-competitive. Alexander told Chu that his proposed Energy Innovation Hubs “are exactly the way to go about these grand challenges.”