Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm has stressed that any clean energy initiative must include nuclear energy as the Biden administration touts clean energy to help inflation relief.
“Nuclear has to be part of the array of clean energy technologies,” Granholm said during an appearance on “State of the Union” Sunday, saying the goal was to achieve “zero carbon-emitting baseload power.” “There is money, both in the bipartisan infrastructure law, as well as in the Inflation Reduction Act, to incentivize the reduction and keep the existing fleet online as well.”
“Nuclear has to be a part of that,” she added.
The role of nuclear energy in any clean energy effort has remained a contentious point: The nuclear industry faces rising costs, aging infrastructure, competition from other energy sources and political opposition, but supporters insist it remains a vital part of achieving any zero-carbon emissions goals.
Biden supported nuclear energy as part of his platform when running for president, and Granholm has remained a vocal supporter of nuclear energy, even pitching a federal subsidies program for existing plants.
To help achieve those goals, the Biden administration in April launched a $6 billion effort to rescue nuclear power plants at risk of closing. The process included certification and bidding for a civil nuclear credit program that intended to bail out financially distressed owners and operates of nuclear power plants.
Jay Faison, in a Fox News op-ed published in Jan. 2020, argued that clean energy supporters “should” support nuclear energy.
“It’s easy to say nuclear power is too expensive or unsafe,” Faison wrote. “It’s simple, and the Democratic base likes this claim. However, this point generally confuses the distinction between keeping existing plants open and building new ones.”
He notes that no one is advocating for building the “Gen 3” reactors first designed in the 1950s, and that “there are exciting prospects ahead thanks to nuclear innovation.”
“New companies have figured out how to make nuclear power plants ‘walk-away safe.’ This means that no human intervention is needed to shut down the plant if something goes wrong,” he explained.
The Biden administration might need nuclear energy if it wants to help drive down energy costs as a part of the bid to combat still-strong inflation. Three studies on the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act determined that Americans won’t feel the impact of the bill for months or even years.
Granholm rebutted those findings, instead touting the bill’s ability to make immediate impact by helping taxpayers with incentive-based credits.
“Immediately, people will be able to lower the fuel costs in their home,” Granholm argued. “There is a 30% tax credit that you can claim in 2022 for installing energy-efficient windows, heat pumps, energy-efficient appliances – that is right away.”
“And on top of that, if citizens want to install solar panels on their roofs so they can generate their own power, that’s another 30% tax credit.”
Fox News’ Rich Edson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.