Six New Plants Could Cut Natural Gas Use By 3 Percent

March 4, 2004
12:00 AM
Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici today urged the United States to follow the leadership of the European Union by increasing production of nuclear energy to reduce U.S. dependence on natural gas and address climate change issues. Chairman Domenici made his remarks today at the beginning of the energy subcommittee’s hearing on new nuclear power generation in the United States. Domenici noted that a recent EIA study showed that generation of 6,000 Megawatts of new nuclear power would reduce both the consumption and the cost of natural gas by 3 percent in 2020. That 3 percent reduction in cost would result in an annual savings of more than $3.6 billion a year for American businesses and consumers, Domenici said. Testimony regarding this study was given earlier today by EIA director Guy Caruso during a full committee hearing on EIA’s energy forecast for 2004. An excerpt of Chairman Domenici’s statement made at this afternoon’s nuclear hearing: “Nuclear energy provides 20 percent of our electricity today, and does it without emission of pollutants. Our nuclear plants continue to set new records for reliable, low cost, performance and their safety record is superb. But it’s been so long since we’ve built a new nuclear plant in the U.S. that we are close to losing the national infrastructure and capability to expand production in the nuclear sector. “Too many times in our history, we’ve seen our limited diversity of energy sources and our dependence on foreign supplies damage our economy. That’s why I’ve argued that nuclear power must remain a credible option for our future energy portfolio. “My reasoning on nuclear power is shared in Europe. Recently, an influential European group, the European Economic and Social Committee, issued an important new opinion on nuclear power and electricity generation. “That new EESC opinion spells out strong support for the future of nuclear power in Europe. Just to cite some of their conclusions, they note that nuclear power must be one of the elements of a diversified, balanced, economic and sustainable energy policy with the EU and abandoning nuclear power would exacerbate the problems associated with climate change. “I’m pleased to see these recent conclusions from Europe. They are equally applicable here.”