Friday, February 12, 2016 8:00:00 AM
On February 11, 2016, Ron Kirk, former U.S. Trade Representative and current co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, gave a rousing keynote address to the NASEO Policy Outlook Conference. Ambassador Kirk cited both Republican and Democratic leaders extolling nuclear energy as a powerful option for protecting the environment while assuring electric reliability.
If not for the Nation’s 99 nuclear reactors at 61 plants, 656 million metric tons more of carbon dioxide (CO2) would be emitted by the United States annually, equivalent to the emissions of 135 million cars. Globally, nuclear energy avoids 2.7 billion tons of CO2. Nuclear energy reduces other emissions as well. New plants under construction in several states will greatly help those states meet their Clean Power Plan targets while closure of existing plants would make meeting emission goals difficult. New small modular reactor designs offer the cost and time savings of standardized design while enhancing safety and reliability.
Ambassador Kirk made the point that nuclear energy is a responsible part of a diverse energy portfolio alongside renewable, fossil, and efficiency resources. The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition will soon offer a Clean Power Plan Resource Center on its website (casenergy.org) to provide state-by-state data and resources for assessing the benefits and opportunities of nuclear energy.