“We all remember this time last year,” said Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Monday. “We were in the midst of an energy crisis, paying $4 for a gallon of gasoline, and Americans were seeing their utility bills skyrocketing.” Since then, he went on to say, the energy problems haven’t disappeared and no changes in policy have been made. He warned that, though the prices have gone down, if we do not make any changes, we will fall into the same hole in which we found ourselves last summer.
His solution? Nuclear. Stating that “the cornerstone of any real solution to the American energy problem needs to involve offshore resources and nuclear power…which generates electricity without producing greenhouse gas emissions and has a minimal impact on the environment.” The first step to escaping America’s current energy crisis according to Wicker is to build more nuclear power plants.
The construction of such plants would generate jobs, which would stimulate the economy. The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that building 45 new nuclear plants in America will generate up to 128,000 construction jobs and create up to 32,000 high paying permanent jobs. The benefits, then, of nuclear power would not only be escaping the energy crisis, but escaping the economic crisis as well.
Because of the said benefits, Wicker “fully support[s] the call for 100 nuclear reactors by the year 2030.” He called this goal aggressive because the United States hasn’t built a nuclear plant in 30 years. He stressed the fact that the U.S. needs to hop aboard the nuclear cruise ship into energy comfort by stating that Japan has a goal to built one nuclear plant per year and China currently has 24 nuclear plants underway.
Senator Wicker agreed that alternative “green” energy needs to be developed, but claims that those sources are insufficient and that they can only provide for a fraction of our energy needs. He called for a more “balanced” approach to meeting our energy needs, and feels that going nuclear is a plan on which all Americans could come together.
This comes at a time when a debate rages over energy; one side is pulling for 100 nuclear power plants while the other side is calling for a “cap and trade” energy tax, which Wicker calls “very risky” and “ill-advised.” What, then, is the answer? Is a dependence on nuclear energy the most efficient way to free ourselves from the current energy crisis? Or is it a tax plan? Perhaps neither, and perhaps both.
Photo Credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via flickr under Creative Commons License