The former head of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has written an opinion essay in the Houston Chronicle with advice on energy policy for the next president. Publishing his views in the heart of the Texas oil industry, Charles Groat writes, "The next president of the United States can strike an early blow for sound energy policy by actively promoting our increased use of nuclear power."
That's an interesting perspective coming from a former high level government scientist who during his tenure probably had more contact with the oil & gas industry than uranium miners. Given that Houston's landscape is defined by oil refineries, these are brave words in support of a different fuel source. Groat is now in a leadership position related to energy studies at the University of Texas - Austin. Let's hope his advice will be listened to.
Here are a few highlights . . .
"Once the bane of environmentalists, nuclear power is now touted as one of the best green alternatives to coal and natural gas for electricity generation. Today, coal and natural gas generate 70 percent of U.S. electricity. By dramatically increasing nuclear power from its present share of 20 percent of our electricity generation, we have the chance to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decrease emissions of greenhouse gases."
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"The concern getting the most political mileage is the waste issue. Deep geologic disposal has been accepted by virtually all nations as the ultimate resting place for their spent nuclear fuel or reprocessing residues. The United States has led the world in committing to a site for its waste and preparing it for licensing. We have also set records for throwing unnecessary obstacles in the way of readying the site for use. Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site for retrievable storage of U.S. high-level nuclear waste, has been studied in great detail. It is a technically sound site. But the Nevada congressional delegation, overcome by NIMBY (not in my backyard) sickness, has allied in opposition to the site with environmental interests seeking reasons to stall nuclear power."
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"Our next president and our country should learn from the French and take comfort in the fact that nuclear power has lived up to its potential in this large and modern nation."
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