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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Obama's Climate Action Plan

Today (June 25) President Obama will give a speech on his vision for a national climate policy, which is of interest to us involved with nuclear energy in that it's also going to impact energy policy. 

Overnight, the speech leaked out.  The Nuclear Energy Institute has made cuts of the speech that include reference to nuclear energy.  See NEI's post on NEI Nuclear Notes here

NEI President and CEO Marv Fertel has made a statement about the Obama policy; see it here.

The White House has released a brief Fact Sheet on the overall plan.  See it here.

There is also available from the White House a full 21 page report.  See the .pdf file here.

In this full report we find the statement - "Going forward, we will expand these efforts to promote nuclear energy generation consistent with maximizing safety and nonproliferation goals. " 

The American Nuclear Society (of which I'm a member, and also have a seat on the ANS Communications Committee) has a position statement on nuclear energy, entitled "Nuclear Power: The Leading Strategy for Reducing Carbon Emissions."  Click here to see it.

For further information..

ANS Position on Need for Near Term Deployment of Nuclear Power

The speech will mention SMR or Small Modular Reactors; here is the ANS Position on these.

Small Modular Reactors can be used to repower existing fossil fired facilities.  Small sized (but not modular) reactors were in fact used in this capacity before; the technique is proven, and not on a small scale.  See an extensive article about this phenomenon here.

More details later.

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1:57 PM  Edison Electric Institute Statement.

2:25 PM  Heritage Foundation briefs on nuclear energy and energy policy.

10:30 AM 6/26  Politico - Ten Takeaways on Obama's Climate Speech (via Glenn Williams)

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Perspective -  OBAMA'S CLIMATE / ENERGY / POLITICAL LEVERAGE SPEECH

The Nuclear Agenda

President Obama's speech only mentioned nuclear energy briefly, in passing - a great disappointment to those of us solidly behind nuclear energy who were listening intently.  What appears in the printed material is really not much better than what's appeared before.  We can expect further push on Small Modular Reactors, the plan says; but is that really promising any more than continuance of the first round of DOE SMR funding?  Is there any promise of an increase?  No, and no.  So the words are just a continuation of previous policy.  But the President did say some things that might put off a number of solidly pro-nuclear folks that had nothing at all to do with nuclear energy.

The Flat Earth Society?

During his speech, President Obama referred to those who deny or question in some way the effect of man on climate change as "flat earthers."  It's for that reason that I include the following link.  Those who do not believe that there is any large, solid core of people who doubt anthropogenically driven climate change need to read the following article very carefully.

Obama's Climate Change Speech Ignores Science & EU Experience

The people for whom the above article was written aren't going to buy into any plans based entirely on climate change.  However, no one can deny the importance of maintaining the United States as a technological leader -- and no one can deny the sound of opportunity knocking at the door.

That "opportunity" is the strong desire for many nations overseas to acquire nuclear power plants.  Some are well underway, like the United Arab Emirates; others, like Kenya, are only just starting.  Those just starting -- or, in some cases, others looking to restart dead or stalled programs -- are potential sales locations for American built technologies.  We need to get moving on international agreements, and sell nuclear plants anywhere we can show there's a suitable location, a stable government, a solid regulator, and trained and capable operating staff.

That's the part of the President's plan they'll buy in with.  Calling them names isn't helpful; finding out what matters to them, and what might convince them as a result, is helpful. 

I'll be keeping my eyes open for futher good perspectives on the Obama speech, and will post them here.

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10:50 AM 6/26   Andrea Jennetta / Fuel Cycle Week:  Nuclear Energy, not Unreliables, is the Solution to Climate Change

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11:58 AM 6/28  Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation has written an analytical piece entitled "The President's Pro-Nuclear Rhetoric vs. his Anti-Nuclear Policies."  It's realistic, sobering, and worth a read at least once.  Click here to see it. 

I will continue to add analytical pieces to this blog post as I find relevant and realistic examples.


1 comment:

  1. If we have indeed reached a critical threshold (see pic at http://www.thewordenreport.blogspot.com/2013/05/global-warming-psa.html), then how much good can a few executive orders do? It is no wonder that Obama, like George W Bush earlier, has shifted rhetoric from “global warming” to “climate change” in order to gain more supporters (see http://www.thewordenreport.blogspot.com/2013/06/words-in-politics-from-global-warming.html). In short, have we been rearranging chairs on the deck as the ship slowly but inevitably sinks?

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