Alexander Statement on Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Vote to Award the First License for the Building of a New Reactor in Three Decades

Posted on February 9, 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement following the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 4-1 vote to grant a license to build a new nuclear reactor: 

“Now that the commission has approved the first new reactor in 30 years, it should act promptly on the applications awaiting approval for 14 reactors of the same model. Our country will need 100 new reactors to provide enough reliable, clean electricity to power our homes, businesses, computers and vehicles.”

In a hearing of the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee in August, Alexander said: “We have an aging nuclear fleet—we haven’t built a new reactor in 30 years. Twenty-five or 30 years from now, this commission will have to decide whether to extend the life of a lot of the older reactors. I’ve advocated building 100 new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. And even if we did that, we’d still barely replace the reactors that we have. And the need for electricity in this country, because the Energy Information Administration estimates that the increased need for electricity will be up by 31 percent. So we’re going to need a lot of clean, reliable electricity in this country. And we can’t afford, if we want to have a high standard of living and good jobs, to lose 10 percent or 20 percent of our electricity. If we don’t have nuclear power, we’ll have to rely on coal—that’s dirtier—on gas—that’s dirtier—and who knows what the price of gas will be? And the idea of relying on windmills to provide the energy America needs is the equivalent of going to war in sailboats. So we’re going to need lots of nuclear power.”

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