Bush: 'The way forward is through technology'

24 January 2007

President George Bush made the annual State of The Union speech on 23 January, calling for a reduction in the USA's oil usage and the expansion of clean electricity generation - including nuclear power.

In the 73rd such message, Bush addressed a joint session of the US House of Representatives and Senate. He outlined the condition of the country, his legislative proposals and vision for coming years.

Explaining that "Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy," Bush said it would be vital for America to diversify its energy mix. "The way forward is through technology," he said.

"We must continue changing the way America generates electric power - by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy and clean, safe nuclear power."

The US Department of Energy (DoE), under its Nuclear Power 2010 program, has aleady incentivised nuclear power generation by enabling companies to apply for Early Site Permits which establish the suitability of a site for a new nuclear power station in advance of any commitment to build; offering to share costs with the first three applicants under the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's streamlined combined Construction and Operating License scheme; and in 2005 the Energy Policy Act, DoE offered tax credits for the first 6000 MWe of new nuclear capacity. Now, 27 new power reactors are being proposed by 13 different energy companies.

Furthering his agenda to increase energy independence, Bush also called for a reduction in the amount of foreign oil used by the country, to be achieved primarily by a reduction in the use of vehicle fuels. Calling it a "great goal" toward which progress has already been made thanks to his policies, he said "let us... reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20% in the next ten years." He set a Fuels Standard that requires the use of 35 billion gallons (132 billion litres) of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017 - more than five times the current target.

Bush said: "America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil" but also that he had asked Congress to double the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to insulate the country from supply disruption.

Disappointing many observers, Bush made reference to climate change only in that the above measures would also help to combat its "serious challenge."

Further information

Full text of President George Bush's speech

WNA's US Nuclear Power Industry information paper