Public Power - September 2009 - (Page 14)
10 Questions nuclear industry were skeptical. They said, “well, that’s a lot of nuclear plants. Maybe we could do 30 or 40. But the more they thought about it, I think the more they liked the goal, even though it is an aggressive goal. That’s what I hear from utility managers and I’m meeting with them on a regular basis. I spoke to the Tennessee municipal electric providers last Friday in Knoxville. I proposed my vision for the TVA region, which is to go from about 33 percent nuclear to 66 percent nuclear over the next 20 years and I think they pretty well agree with that because they see that we need cheap energy and we need clean energy and we need large amounts of energy and that we really don’t have any other way to get it. The wind doesn’t blow much in the South. The only wind plant in the whole Southeastern United States is in Tennessee and it’s a failure because the wind doesn’t blow very much. And bio- 10 mass is even worse. In order to have a biomass plant that would produce as much as a single nuclear unit at TVA’s Watts Bar, you would need to continuously farm an area one and one-half times the size of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. And solar at the moment is four to five times more expensive than other types of electricity that TVA buys. I’m getting a good response. Some so-called environmentalists object to nuclear power and like huge wind turbines. For the life of me, I can’t understand environmentalists who reject the only technology we have to seriously deal with global warming and to clear the air in a short while. Who likes the idea of putting 50-story wind turbines on our scenic landscape? Are you finding supporters for your proposal in the Senate and House? There’s a lot of interest. The proposal is not just mine. All 40 Republican sen- ators support the goal of 100 new nuclear plants in the next 20 years and so do House of Representative Republicans. But my goal is not for it to be just a Republican proposal because I know there are a lot of Democrats, such as Sen. [Thomas] Carper of Delaware, Sen. [Benjamin] Cardin of Maryland and others who favor nuclear power. So my hope is we can make it a bipartisan goal and that eventually the president will take a look at his energy policies and say, “If I’m going to achieve my goal of dealing effectively with climate change in a generation, and cleaning the air and providing enough cheap energy to get our economy moving again, then I’m going to have to pick up this idea of 100 nuclear power plants.” From the day he does, I think the world will know it’s likely to happen and the utilities and manufacturers and engineering students will all get busy making it a reality. n 2009 Business & Financial Conference September 13-16 Savannah, Georgia • Hyatt Regency Savannah The premier annual meeting for public power professionals in the areas of: • Accounting & Finance • Customer Accounting & Services • Human Resources & Training • Information Technology • Pricing & Market Analysis For program and registration information, visit www.APPAnet.org under “Events.” 14 SEPTEMBER 2009 PUBLIC POWER
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