Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said that by sending Energy Secretary Steven Chu to Georgia today to tout the construction of two new nuclear reactors, President Obama is trying to take credit for 5,800 nuclear jobs, even though his Administration has a record of actively opposing nuclear power, and his own Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman, Greg Jaczko, opposed the license for these reactors.
"It's laughable that President Obama and Secretary Chu are now trying to take credit for the creation of 5,800 new nuclear jobs today in Georgia," Senator Inhofe said. "This move is highly ironic given that Secretary Chu was the one who said that nuclear power is the 'lesser of two evils' and the President himself designated a Chairman of the NRC who opposes nuclear power. In fact, NRC Chairman Jaczko tried to delay progress on the license for these reactors in Georgia and then dissented on issuing them altogether. Fortunately, he was out-voted by his colleagues 4 to 1.
"Just as President Obama has been touting oil and natural gas development, while under the radar he is aggressively working to eliminate fossil fuels, his approach to nuclear power is more of the same. President Obama's Budget has a hidden tax on consumers of nuclear electricity to the tune of $2 billion dollars over the next ten years. Driving up the cost of nuclear power is no way to spur growth in the industry. And, of course, the Obama administration has done everything it can to shutdown the Yucca Mountain program, the government's repository for spent fuel disposal, abandoning a $15 billion investment and 30 years of research.
"If the President were serious about nuclear power he would rein in his NRC Chairman who consistently undermines it; he would do what he can to expedite license extensions that are languishing under Chairman Jaczko's failed leadership; he would eliminate this unjustifiable tax on nuclear power; he would stop the mindless shutdown of the Yucca Mountain program; and he would immediately re-nominate NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki, whose knowledge is essential to the safety mission at the NRC. Only then would he be justified in claiming some involvement in the enormous job-creation potential of nuclear power."