President Obama has announced that he will be giving a speech on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at Georgetown University that will describe his administration’s plan to address climate change. Here is the video version of the announcement:
Nuclear energy is conspicuously missing from both the sound track and the visual imagery. It is hard to take anyone seriously who claims to concerned about climate change and its effects on future generations who ignores a proven, scalable tool that can provide power with a total lifecycle emission of greenhouse gases that is roughly equal to weather dependent wind turbines.
In the video, the President calls on scientists to devise new fuels and farmers to grow them. Someone needs to remind the President that scientists discovered emission-free fuel about 75 years ago and that engineers have devised extremely safe and reliable machines that use that fuel to produce about 800 billion kilowatt hours per year in the US and to power every submarine and aircraft carrier in the US Navy.
There are a large number of nuclear scientists and engineers in Illinois, President Obama’s adopted home state. It is the home of Argonne National Laboratory, the place that proved that self-sustaining fission works, and it is a state that produces about 50% of its electrical power from the largest single state concentration of reactors in the country. Ernest Moniz, the recently appointed Secretary of Energy, has a resume that includes a substantial amount of nuclear energy experience. I hope that at least a few of those nuclear experts have some kind of access to the President and will choose to deliver the reminder.
Anyone who is serious about climate change must include nuclear energy in their plans. It is not a quick or cheap solution, but it has a significant potential for improvements in both cost and schedule performance with the kind of political support that reduces investment-killing uncertainty. Encouraging nuclear energy would not even cost much money; a strong expression of support from the bully pulpit would do wonders to encourage capitalists to put their money into nuclear energy developments.