As a follow on to yesterday's blog post, where we broadly discussed the country's electricity sources, I got to thinking: Where, exactly, are our nuclear power facilities?
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission offers a lot of useful information, including this map:
It's unclear how Japan's on-going nuclear crisis will influence U.S. energy policy. And it's probably far too soon to offer predictions. But during testimony this morning at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, Department of Energy Head Stephen Chu offered the following responses to Texas Representative Joe Barton:
“The president and the administration believe we have to be looking very very closely at the events in Japan. We have to apply whatever lessons that can be and will be learned from what’s happening in Japan.’’
“Those lessons would then be applied first looking at our current fleet of reactors, to make sure they can be used safely,’’ he said, and “as one proceeds forward, how those lessons learned can be applied” to new plants.
But, he said, “It’s premature to say anything except that we will use this opportunity to learn as best we can.’’
But Mr. Barton replied: “I’m not sure what you just said. Does the president support new nuclear power plants in the United States?’’
Dr. Chu answered: “The president’s budget is what it is.’’ The budget calls for $36 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors, and money to help develop a new class of small, modular reactors.
“So that’s a yes?” said Mr. Barton.
“That’s a yes,’’ Dr. Chu replied.
“Good, that’s what I wanted you to say,’’ Mr. Barton said.
For better or worse, in the wake of the tragedy in Japan, other countries appear more eager to alter their energy policies. China has suspended approval of new nuclear plants, for instance. And Germany announced it would idle seven of its nuclear power plants for three months in order to conduct a review of its reactors and energy policies. Developing...
For reliable updates on the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan, see World Nuclear News.