Alexander On President’s Climate Change Speech: “Can We Lead Without Nuclear Power?”

September 22nd, 2009 - WASHINGTON - Addressing the president’s speech on climate change at the U.N. this morning, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked on the floor of the Senate, “How can the United States lecture other countries about climate change when we won’t take advantage of the one technology that shows the most promise of dealing with it?

“Today, President Obama told the countries of the world that the United States is ready to lead on climate change,” Alexander said. “But while he’s reassuring world leaders, he has a lot of work to do with us here in the U.S. Senate. I’m talking, of course, about nuclear power, which produces 19 percent of all our electricity but 70 percent of our carbon-free electricity. Of the top five countries that produce carbon, indeed that produce most of the carbon in the world, four—China, Russia, India and Japan—are committed to a bold program of expansion of nuclear power. Only the United States is not.

“It’s time to lead by example and not just words,” Alexander continued. “It’s time to embrace the one technology that truly has the possibility of powering a prosperous planet without ruining the environment or covering our treasured landscapes with energy sprawl. It’s time to build 100 new nuclear plants in the next 20 years.”

Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, recently unveiled his “blueprint” for America’s energy future in which he says the United States should double its nuclear capacity by building 100 new nuclear reactors over the next twenty years.

“The prize we’re going to get for it is stable, reliable, low-cost, as well as carbon-free, electricity that will once again allow us to manufacture things in this country again instead of shipping all those jobs overseas looking for cheap energy. We can put America back to work building a whole new infrastructure based on the greatest scientific discovery of the 20th century.”