Alexander on “What the U.S. Should Really Fear About Nuclear Power”

Posted on September 21, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that what Americans should fear most about nuclear power is that “the rest of the world is using it and we are ignoring it.” In an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce before a gathering of the international business community, Alexander said China is planning to build 132 nuclear reactors over the next twenty years; Japan will build ten more by 2018 and South Korea eight new reactors by 2015. He said that France now produces 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. “There are 40 reactors under construction in 11 countries around the world and none of them in the United States,” Alexander said. “The country that invented nuclear power and that gets 70 percent of its carbon-free electricity from nuclear power hasn’t started a new nuclear power plant in 30 years.” “Nuclear opponents continue to prey on fear of nuclear power. The truth is that if we want safe, cost-effective, reliable, low-carbon electricity, we can no longer ignore the wisdom of the rest of the world. The real fear is that we Americans are going to wake up one cloudy, windless day when the light switch doesn’t work and discover we’ve forfeited our capacity to lead the world because we ignored nuclear power—a problem-solving technology that we ourselves invented.” Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, recently unveiled his “blueprint” for America’s energy future in which he says the United States should double its nuclear capacity by building 100 new nuclear reactors over the next twenty years. “We could create twice as many ‘green jobs’ by building 100 new reactors as we could by building 186,000 wind turbines,” he said.