President Obama just signaled he’s willing to look at more nuclear power for electricity generation. “There’s no reason why technologically we can’t employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way,” he said in a recent public meeting in New Orleans. “Japan does it and France does it and it doesn’t have greenhouse gas emissions, so it would be stupid for us not to do that in a much more effective way.”
And how. France generates 78% of its electricity from nuclear power plants. Gallup pollsters recently found 59% of Americans support the use of nuclear power.
The President is being very pragmatic. Although he has not talked up nuclear power, he never said “no.” During the 2008 campaign he consistently left the door open by saying that nuclear power required more research. Energy didn’t turn out to be a big campaign issue because the economy eclipsed everything.
Americans want energy independence and a clean environment. “What I think we need to do is increase our domestic energy production,” Obama also said. In 2008, coal accounted for 49% of electricity generated, while natural gas provided 21%, nuclear 20%, hydro-electric 6% and other sources such as wind and solar just 4%. Just about any analysis of energy sources shows that nuclear power has to be in the mix for electricity generation if the goal is to meet future demand and reduce emissions.
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