The Future Of American Energy Production Must Include Nuclear


Authored by Tommy Tuberville via RealClear Wire,

It’s the coldest time of the year, and the demand for energy is significantly higher as people try to warm their homes. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in Alabama seven out of ten homes rely on electric heating during the winter months. Increasing demand is placing a strain on our power grid, and the Biden administration has no solution to the problem.

Instead of providing families with reliable energy, Joe Biden and his administration have other priorities. They’ve spent the last three years on a crusade to make America dependent on unreliable energy sources such as wind and solar power, all in the name of supposedly fighting “climate change.” While wind and solar have roles to play in domestic energy production, we simply cannot rely on them. The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, but our energy grid needs to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Despite Joe Biden’s best efforts, most of our energy still comes from fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas. Democrats don’t like to admit this, but when wind and solar power fail, the backup generators are powered by oil and natural gas. Without fossil fuels, our energy grid and our economy could not function.

To keep prices low and capacity high, the U.S. must have an “all-of-the-above” approach to American energy production. This must include investing in nuclear power.

Right now, nuclear energy accounts for approximately 20% of our power grid, which is more than wind and solar combined. The U.S. has the most nuclear power production of any country in the world, but we could be producing even more. Burdensome regulations and bureaucratic red tape from the Biden administration are slowing down nuclear permitting and production from doing even more. 

Once again, Democrat politicians would rather play politics than do what is best for the working people of this country. They know their left-wing voter base hates nuclear energy—and they won’t risk offending them. 

There is neither an economic nor a scientific basis for opposition to nuclear energy, which is the single most efficient source of energy known to man. It is 8,000 times more efficient than fossil fuels—which are already much more efficient than wind and solar power. This efficiency grants nuclear power an unparalleled ability to bring down the price of energy—and, in turn, reduce prices throughout our economy.

Nuclear is also safe for the environment. Nuclear energy produces zero emissions and removes harmful pollutants from the atmosphere. Claims that nuclear energy production is dangerous are simply outdated. After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, there was a panic among Americans, and the federal government canceled President Nixon’s goal of building 1,000 nuclear reactors. Despite zero deaths from the Three Mile Island incident, our energy policy has never recovered from this mistake and continues declining with the close of 13 American nuclear reactors since 2013.

Scientists are always working to learn from the past and improve our technical knowledge. We know a lot more about nuclear safety now than we did in 1979. Our technology is better than ever and continues to improve each day.

Alabama understands this better than almost any state as we are proud to be the nation’s fifth-largest producer of nuclear energy with two nuclear plants and five nuclear reactors. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operates Browns Ferry in Athens, Alabama, which is their largest nuclear plant and has the second-largest nuclear power generating capacity in the nation. Browns Ferry directly supports 1,500 Alabama jobs and powers more than two million homes.

On the other end of the state, just outside of Dothan, Alabama Power runs Plant Farley, generating nearly 20% of Alabama Power’s electricity. Plant Farley supports 900 good jobs in the Wiregrass area, and I am grateful to Alabama’s energy workers for keeping the lights on for us.

America needs to learn from Alabama. We need to stop the obsession with wind and solar energy and do a better job of investing in nuclear energy. The polls show that a clear majority of the public wants more nuclear power—and that majority is growing by the day. It’s good economics. It’s good energy policy. It’s good environmental policy. And it’s long overdue.

Tommy Tuberville is an American politician who is the senior U.S. senator from Alabama, a seat he has held since 2021.

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