The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 21, 2007

Fact Sheet: Expanding the Safe Use of Nuclear Power
President Bush Discusses Nuclear Power, Calls On Congress To Pass An Energy Bill

     Fact sheet In Focus: Energy

Today, President Bush Toured Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant In Alabama And Discussed His Administration's Energy Policy, Including The Importance Of Expanding Nuclear Power. Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 is the first U.S. nuclear reactor to come online in the 21st century. Shut down in 1985 due to management and operational concerns, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) decided in 2002 to restart the unit and has done so on time and on budget. This unit has the capacity to supply electricity to about 650,000 homes.

The World Is Seeing The Promise And Potential Of The Peaceful Use Of Nuclear Energy

Today, Nuclear Power Provides Almost Twenty Percent Of The United States' Electricity. In addition, nuclear power provides 78 percent of the electricity for France, 50 percent of the electricity for Sweden, and 30 percent of the electricity for the entire European Union. China has nine nuclear plants in operation, and plans to build many more.

The Federal Government Is Helping To Expand The Safe Use Of Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power Is The Only Significant Emissions-Free Baseload Power Source That Is Able To Expand To Meet America's Growing Need For Electricity. To maintain nuclear power's current twenty-percent share of electricity generation in the U.S., experts believe it will be necessary to build an average of three new plants per year, starting in 2015. Partially as a result of litigation and complex regulations, however, no new nuclear plants have been ordered in the U.S. since the 1970s.

1. In 2003, The Administration Launched The Nuclear Power 2010 Initiative. This partnership between the U.S. government and industry is focused on reducing the technical, regulatory, and institutional barriers to deployment of new nuclear power plants. The President's 2008 budget will double the requested funding for this program to $114 million to help private industry obtain licenses for new designs.

2. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Is Working To Improve And Streamline The Regulatory Process To Help Accelerate The Construction Of Nuclear Plants. Under the old system, the permitting process was slow and cumbersome because it limited builders to completing only one step at a time before moving on. The NRC is now implementing a more efficient review process that allows builders to complete several steps at a time without compromising safety.

3. The Energy Bill The President Signed In 2005 Provides Production Tax Credits And Federal Risk Insurance For Builders Of New Nuclear Plants. Production tax credits will reward investments in the latest in advanced nuclear power generation, and Federal risk insurance helps protect the first builders of new nuclear plants against frivolous lawsuits, bureaucratic obstacles, and other delays beyond their control.

4. The Administration Has Repeatedly Proposed Legislation To Complete A Nuclear Waste Repository Site At Yucca Mountain. Yucca Mountain is critical to expanding nuclear power in the United States because it will provide a safe geologic repository to store spent fuel and nuclear waste. The President's 2008 budget request devotes nearly $495 million to continue progress on licensing Yucca Mountain as a repository for spent fuel, and he urges Congress to pass this important legislation to move our efforts forward.

5. Under The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, America Will Work With Nations That Have Advanced Civilian Nuclear Energy Programs - Such As France, China, Japan, And Russia. The partnership will work to provide the cheap and safe energy growing economies need, while reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation and avoiding greenhouse gas emissions.

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