A 30-year dry spell in the construction of new nuclear reactors could be ending, and rightly so. While nuclear power has its problems, and they should not be lightly set aside, it also complements a national energy strategy that is focused on reducing the amount of fossil fuels that power our economy.

Right now, nuclear plants provide about 20 percent of the nation’s energy. While very little oil is used for that purpose – most of it goes for transportation – natural gas is growing as a percentage of the power-generation mix due to plentiful supplies and a well-established network of pipelines and shipping.

Still, much of that comes from other countries, and replacing it with nuclear power could cut down on the risk of accidents and favorably affect the U.S. balance of trade. Those are among the reasons that President Obama announced new loan guarantees for two reactors planned in Georgia, part of a nuclear resurgence that has a half-dozen plants on the drawing boards for the next decade.

Critics say the plants can’t be built without government help, and they’re right, but the same is true for other types of generation, certainly including wind and solar.

Constructing more nuclear plants diversifies the national power mix and ends up with plants that put no pollution into the air.

Now, Obama has to reverse his decision not to develop Yucca Mountain, the N-waste storage site in Nevada. With that in place, a nuclear resurgence can proceed.

 


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