Using words that could almost have been taken from President Eisenhower’s 1953 Atoms for Peace speech, President Bush recently elaborated on his recent State of the Union comment about investing in energy solutions – including “clean, safe nuclear energy”.
The full text of his 18 February 2006 radio address is posted on the White House web site.
There are several features to his plan that make it a potential winner. I like the focus on recycling and reusing what used to be considered to be “spent” nuclear fuel; I like the fact that he mentions how nuclear power plants can prevent emissions that cause air pollution and greenhouse gases; I like the idea of working towards starting new nuclear plant construction by the end of the decade and I like the idea of more international cooperation which will probably include continuations of efforts to share nuclear power plant licensing information.
What I like best of all is the following paragraph:
As these technologies are developed, we will work with our partners to help developing countries meet their growing energy needs by providing them with small-scale reactors that will be secure and cost-effective (emphasis added). We will also ensure that these developing nations have a reliable nuclear fuel supply. In exchange, these countries would agree to use nuclear power only for civilian purposes and forego uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities that can be used to develop nuclear weapons. My new budget includes $250 million to launch this initiative. By working with other nations under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, we can provide the cheap, safe, and clean energy that growing economies need, while reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation.
Those of you who have been reading Atomic Insights for a while, or who have gone back through our archives – both on this blog and on the Atomic Insights web site know that I have been advocating small scale reactors for distributed power needs for more than a decade.
Once again, I need to disclose the fact that I am the founder of Adams Atomic Engines, Inc., and that our mission is to disrupt energy empires by designing and building small scale nuclear power sources that can effectively compete with large diesel engines and combustion gas turbines.
There are lots of other people talking about the President’s nuclear power initiatives. Here are some of the more interesting treatments of the topic:
- Bush Takes Nuclear Energy Plan on the Road – written by Dorothy Kosich and posted on Mineweb
- Bush’s nuclear energy plans don’t sway Yucca foes – written by David Jacobs and posted on the Reno Gazette-Journal
- Bush pitch for reactor sale – written by S. Rajagopalan and posted on the Hindustan Times
- Bush to Expand U.S. Nuclear Power, Prevent Weapon Proliferation – staff writer on Bloomberg
- US seeks safe nuclear coalition – staff writer on Pakistan Daily Times
- Nuclear plan holds uncertainties – This one is very interesting. It is a republication in a Venezuela news site of a Washington Post article written by Guy Gugliotta that is more about the Union of Concerned Scientists reflexive opposition to the notion of recycling than it is about the president’s plan. It contains wording that almost qualifies it as a “smoking gun” that directly ties opposition to nuclear power to being an oil, coal or gas producer.
- Bush calls for boosting ‘clean’ nuclear energy staff writer for the Gulf Times (Qatar)
- Bush calls for expanded use of nuclear power in U.S., globally – staff writer for the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) This one is also interesting, with a lead that clearly states why this policy announcement is important to KUNA readers.
As part of his proposals to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign sources of energy, President George W. Bush on Saturday discussed his plans to expand the use of nuclear power in the United States and globally.
- Bush pushes for more nuclear power use AAP wire report posted on The Age (Australia)
I found more than 300 additional links about this weekly radio address. As you can tell from the selection of sources above, there is considerable interest around the world, both in nations that are traditionally energy importers and those that are members of OPEC.
We certainly live in interesting times.