House GOP Introduces American Energy Act

Published: Jun 10, 2009

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today joined with House Republicans led by Chairman Mike Pence to unveil the American Energy Act, a comprehensive Republican bill that will help America achieve true energy independence.

“Without a firm commitment to nuclear power, Congress’ effort to reduce carbon emissions is nothing but a fools-errand,” Issa, an original sponsor of the American Energy Act said.  “Nuclear power is one of the safest, most efficient, and sadly underappreciated zero carbon resources available to our nation. From the development of hydrogen technologies, high heat reactors, to the possibilities of advanced fuel cycles, the benefits of nuclear power cannot be ignored any longer.”

A focal point of the American Energy Act is the establishment of a national goal of licensing 100 new nuclear reactors over the next twenty years by streamlining a burdensome regulatory process and ensuring the recycling and safe storage of spent nuclear fuel.

“Still in its infancy, nuclear power remains a titan in the energy world,” Issa said.  “If the United States wants to fight the battle against climate change and lead the global economy, we must build upon the innovation and entrepreneurial edge that nuclear technology has given us.  Decisions today will reverberate for decades.  It is time for us, as a nation, to reassert our commitment to this promising clean energy solution.”

In 2005, the University of Wisconsin found that the lifecycle carbon emissions from nuclear power were comparable to wind, geothermal, and hydro- and significantly better than solar or biomass. Nuclear plants also have much smaller footprints than either solar arrays or wind farms. Comparing land use to output, using existing carbon free resources, a nuclear generating facility requires less than one acre of land to produce one MW of electricity, while a wind farm requires more than 45 times that amount of land.

“The conspicuously missing link in the recent climate debate has been the most efficient and proven source of carbon-free energy- nuclear power,” said Issa.  “For 30 years, economic and social constraints sidelined the development of nuclear power in the United States.  Today, social and economic shifts have placed the nuclear industry on the cusp of a ‘renaissance.’  Building on decades of experience, new reactor designs are more efficient, affordable and safe.

In 2008, the 104 nuclear reactors operating in the United States produced more than 800 billion kilowatt-hours, equal to 19 percent of our total electricity output and representing nearly 75 percent of U.S. carbon-free electricity.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is currently reviewing applications for 26 new reactors that would provide an additional 34,000 megawatts of electricity.  Even as our economy struggles and job losses mount, nuclear energy remains a sign of hope, creating almost 15,000 jobs in the last three years as communities anticipate new plant development.