Obama administration Energy Secretary Stephen Chu told a House committee today that the president remains committed to the building of new nuclear power plants in the United States, a commitment he underscored with billions in new loan guarantees for plant construction offered in his new budget:
At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tex., asked Chu where the president stands and whether he still supports a “rebirth” of nuclear power in the United States.
“The president and the administration believe we have to be looking very, very closely at the events in Japan. We have to apply whatever lessons that can be and will be learned from what has happened and what is happening in Japan,” Chu explained. “Those lessons would then be applied to first look at our current existing fleet of reactors, to make sure that they can be used safely and… how as one proceeds forward, any lessons learned can be applied.”
“It would be premature to say anything other than we will use this opportunity to learn as best we can,” he said.
Barton pushed back “I’m not sure what you just said. Does the president support new nuclear power plant construction in the United States?”
Chu went on to explain that the president’s budget calls for $36 billion for loan guarantees for new reactors. “The president’s budget is what it is,” he said. “That position has not been changed.”
“So that’s a ‘yes’?” Barton asked.
“That’s a ‘yes.’” Chu replied.