Thursday, December 11, 2008


From an August 2008 paper by a number of scientists including Steven Chu, Obama's choice for energy secretary. The piece is titled A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy

The Directors of the Department of Energy national laboratories strongly believe that nuclear energy must play a significant and growing role in our nation's - and the world's - energy portfolio. This conclusion is based on an analysis of national and international energy needs in the context of broader global energy, environmental, and security issues. This paper provides details regarding our position in relation to nuclear energy. It is intended to be used as a basis for further discussion with stakeholders to help in developing specific near-term actions as well as a coherent long-term strategy incorporating the items listed below:

- Make maximum use of the current 'fleet' of operating light-water reactors, including plant life extensions, extended fuel burnup, and power uprates.

- Establish a national priority to immediately deploy advanced light-water reactors to meet our nation's increasing energy demand, while limiting greenhouse gas emissions and continuing to provide critical support to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission .

- Employ an integrated approach to manage used nuclear fuel and high-level waste, including interim storage, licensing of the Yucca Mountain Repository as a long-term resource, and exploration of optimal future waste management options.

- Implement an aggressive research and development program on advanced reactors, reprocessing, waste management, and fuel fabrication concepts to enable timely identification of the technological options for a sustainable closed fuel cycle.

- Pursue partnering with other countries and implementation of an international regime that discourages the spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and promotes the assurance of worldwide fuel supply and effective waste management.

- Strengthen international safeguards through aggressive R&D, thereby revitalizing U.S.

Note: In direct conflict with the above, the AP reported "He has shown little support for building a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, one of the major issues facing the department"