by Jarret Adams
In a wide-ranging interview on National Public Radio this morning, Energy Secretary Steven Chu expressed strong support for the expansion of nuclear energy in the United States to meet our nation’s energy needs.
Dr. Chu explained his support for nuclear energy because it is carbon-free and becoming increasingly competitive. He added that “the safety record of nuclear power plants has been really very good.”
Regarding safety, he concluded that if the choice is coal vs. nuclear energy, “I would rather live near a nuclear power plant.”
Dr. Chu characterizes the way we manage nuclear waste as “solvable,” noting that we have geological sites that are promising and can develop new fast reactors that can “burn up” the waste products as fuel.
We don’t dispute the notion that new-generation fast reactor could offer improvements to future waste management. However, we at AREVA have been safely and effectively recycling used fuel for decades at our facilities in France.
This process can reduce the volume of waste for disposal by a factor of five and its toxicity by a factor of 10. Recycling nuclear fuel also will reduce the space required in a geological repository. Even under the current once-through fuel cycle used in the United States, used fuel is safely and securely stored at nuclear plant sites around the country.
Click here for the rest of the NPR interview with Secretary Chu.
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