Warren “Pete” Miller comes to Idaho Falls
DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Warren "Pete" Miller (right) was in Idaho Falls Sept 22 and told a news conference he is "pro-nuclear."
"Every interaction I've had in the (Obama) administration, at every level, has been very encouraging to me and supportive of nuclear energy."
That's a good start for an official in charge of the agency's nuclear energy programs, but it is also a tacit admission that doubts remain about the real strength of support for it with Obama administration.
As far as Miller is concerned, there are no doubts.
"It is almost unimaginable that we could reach those [climate] goals without nuclear energy," Miller said.
As Miller was visiting Idaho Falls, his boss, Energy Sec. Steven Chu, told the Wall Street Journal he wants to expand loan guarantee for new nuclear power plants.
The call for expansion of loan guarantees comes as the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee gets ready to publish a draft climate bill with a nuclear section in it. Chu said, perhaps in reference to the pending legislation . . .
"If you really want to restart the American nuclear energy industry in a serious way...we (need to) send signals to the industry that the U.S. is serious about investing in nuclear power plants," Chu said.
The first round of loan guarantees has not been awarded, although four planned plants were put on a short list last May. Chu told the WSJ that in addition to plants already in the running, “there’s real interest in another four-or-five which we could easily do.”
INL role in nuclear renaissance
Miller said the Idaho National Laboratory will focus on design Generation IV nuclear reactors. Miller said DOE hopes to start final design within the next year and have a 300-600 MW working prototype operational by 2021.
Miller also met with several community leaders including Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman (right) during his visit. (INL photo)
He comes to the job with sterling credentials. A West Point graduate, he obtained a doctorate in nuclear engineering from Northwestern University. He spent much of his career at Los Alamos National Laboratory.The Idaho National Laboratory, Office of Public Affairs, published a summary of Miller's visit on the lab's external web site.
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