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FreedomWorks Foundation Submits Comments on State Development of Nuclear Technology

03/04/2021

Today, FreedomWorks Foundation submitted a formal comment supporting a petition to the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding state level development of nuclear technology. This petition requests that the DOE promulgate rules to allow states and their agents to work collaboratively on developing new nuclear technologies, including small nuclear reactors.

As we pointed out in our comment excerpted below, nuclear energy is the only source of reliable, emissions-free energy. Currently making up half of our nation's emissions-free energy production, development of new nuclear technologies and power plants has plateaued in the last few decades. Especially considering the amount of time, money, and effort the Department is spending to promote other, less reliable sources of emissions-free energy, the DOE should be doing more to support the nuclear industry. By accepting this petition, DOE would be loosening regulatory restrictions and creating new opportunities to collaborate with states on development of this essential form of energy production.

The text of the formal comment can be found here, in the attachment at the bottom of this page, and excerpted directly below:

The DOE has long held a stranglehold over the development of nuclear technology and nuclear energy production. While states have their own development programs for other energy sources like wind, solar, natural gas, and oil, they have been prevented from engaging in meaningful nuclear development. As an industry that already provides nearly half a million jobs and a significant portion of the nation’s energy production, the DOE should extend more opportunities to states to collaborate on development of new nuclear technology. More importantly, in light of the Biden administration’s stated goal of achieving “a carbon pollution-free electricity sector no later than 2035,” granting this petition presents the Department with an opportunity to support the development of the largest source of emissions-free energy in the country.

Nuclear energy generation, which had been sharply increasing since 1970, began to plateau in 2000. While, according to the Department, nuclear energy currently provides “more than half of the nation’s emissions-free electricity,” many note that closures and lack of public support will lead to stark declines in nuclear production in the future. For example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has repeatedly warned that a “nuclear fade case” would have dramatic, international implications for energy security and reliability. In light of this, the DOE should support the continued development of nuclear production in America. Increasing coordination and collaboration with states and their agents is one way the Department should support this effort.