The Trump administration took a major step towards clean, reliable energy last week, awarding two U.S. nuclear energy companies $160 million in initial funding to develop the next generation of advanced nuclear energy.
Advanced nuclear energy systems hold enormous potential to lower emissions, create new jobs, and build an even stronger economy. The funding, granted by the U.S. Department of Energy to TerraPower LLC based in Washington state and X-energy based in Maryland, will be used to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years.
The effort builds on the work of Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who in 2016 launched the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, which developed cost-shared partnerships with U.S. industry to advance and deploy advanced nuclear reactors.
Predictably, the Trump administration received zero credit from climate activists or the media, many of whom continue to demonize nuclear energy despite its safe, clean and reliable track record.
However, the announcement comes at a convenient time for President Donald Trump, as he prepares for the final debate this week where climate change is expected to be among the major topics. The President would be wise to share (or brag about!) this recent development.
We know nuclear power slows climate change. We also know that every time a nuclear reactor closes in the U.S., carbon dioxide emissions go up. Despite this, Democrats continue shutting them down in favor of renewable energy sources that lack the ability to store power. Earlier this year in New York, for example, Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant that reliably provided a quarter of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester County.
As a result, New Yorkers now have a less diverse and less resilient power grid, vulnerable to accidents, terrorism and cyberattacks.
Nuclear energy is clean energy. It’s also among the most reliable and affordable in the world. It’s important for the president to make these points clear during the final debate, and contrast them with the extreme policies supported by Joe Biden, who hand-picked Green New Deal author Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y.), to co-chair his climate change task force. Instead of strengthening American leadership in the next generation of clean energy technologies, policies supported by the Left would ban or stop in its tracks proven, reliable and affordable energy sources such as natural gas, clean coal and nuclear in favor of pipe dreams that aren’t scientifically possible.
While the Left continues to claim the moral high ground on all things climate change, the fact is that under President Trump, America is becoming the world leader in clean energy innovation—without sacrificing the economy, jobs, or our electric bills along the way.