Paul Albaugh / July 5, 2017

Trump’s Nuclear Energy Ambitions

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will be instrumental in deregulating what can be a key energy source for America.

President Donald Trump has made some significant policy promises regarding America’s energy sector. For most Americans, his policies are extremely welcome news because the days of excessive government regulation and oversight of our nation’s ability to tap into and produce vast amounts of energy will be ending soon.

During a speech last Thursday on energy policy, Trump offered a stark contrast with his predecessor on not just pursuing energy independence for America, but “American energy dominance.” He outlined a six-pronged approach to doing so.

Put simply, unlike Barack Obama, who implemented onerous regulations on coal, off-shore drilling and other fossil fuel production methods — while demanding unrealistic increases in unreliable and expensive wind and solar power — Trump is taking an all-of-the-above approach to unleash American innovation to produce more energy than ever before.

Notably, the first part of his six-pronged approach is to “revive and expand our nuclear energy sector,” which will begin with a study on the issue. The study will analyze regulatory challenges that need to be addressed and offer possible solutions for fixing them. Furthermore, the study will take stock of costs associated with nuclear energy production and building additional nuclear reactors — much of which is regulatory burden. There weren’t a lot of details given in advance of this study, but recognizing a problem is the first step in coming up with a solution.

During a White House Press briefing, Energy Secretary Rick Perry stated without reservation that America needs to regain a “leadership role” in developing nuclear energy. “We really need to have a conversation with our country about making sure that America stays technologically and economically engaged on the nuclear side,” he said, “because if we do not then China and Russia will fill that void.”

Perry also noted that the Trump administration will “end the current blockade that has hindered American energy creation,” and he gave a passionate defense of nuclear power that is sure to irritate leftists. Perry pledged to make nuclear energy “cool again” and added that “no clean-energy portfolio is truly complete without nuclear power.”

Perry, Trump and other administration officials believe that nuclear energy development is important for America and that it can be a “game changer.” They’re absolutely right, but there are numerous obstacles that will need to be overcome if nuclear energy is truly going to be part of Trump’s plan for American energy dominance.

The nuclear industry is currently ailing with many construction projects being costlier than anticipated. One of the major nuclear reactor builders, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy this year after losing money on construction projects in South Carolina and Georgia. The projects were three years past due and cost between $1 to $1.3 billion more than expected. But the costs and timeframe were primarily due to — surprise — government regulation. Perry and the Trump administration intend to address these burdensome regulations and will push for incentives aimed at giving our younger generation a renewed interest in studying nuclear energy production.

You can bet that the push for American energy dominance and independence, with nuclear energy being at the forefront, will outrage ecofascists. As usual, they’ll cry that Trump is trying to destroy the planet. For years, the Left has ignored nuclear power because words like “weapon” and “waste” come to mind whenever the word nuclear is mentioned. But nuclear power is clean energy just like wind and solar, and leftists have been making a terrible mistake by ignoring the benefits that come with nuclear power.

Approximately 20% of America’s electricity comes from nuclear power. The nuclear reactors currently in operation produce four times the amount of energy that wind power can and 21 times the amount that solar power does. By the way, it’s also cheaper to produce than wind and solar, and because of research and innovation it is a safe means of producing energy.

If Trump can follow through with his energy plans, we may very well see another example of American greatness through the harnessing and use of the vast energy resources with which our nation has been so richly blessed.

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