Nuclear part of US clean energy future

26 January 2011

US President Barack Obama has said that by 2035 some 80% of the USA's electricity generation should come from clean energy sources, including nuclear power. 


Obama - SOTU speech 2011
Obama delivers his State of the Union speech (Image: The White House)
During his annual State of the Union speech in Washington DC yesterday, Obama said, "Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all - and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen."


He noted, "Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology."


"We've begun to reinvent our energy policy," Obama said. "We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time."


"I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies," Obama said. "I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's."


He noted that the California Institute of Technology is developing technology "to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars" and that Oak Ridge National Laboratory is using supercomputers to "get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities."


However, Obama warned, "We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools, changing the way we use energy, reducing our deficit - none of this will be easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The costs. The details. The letter of every law."


Turning his attention to nuclear non-proliferation issues, Obama said, "American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists."


Yesterday, Russia's lower house of parliament - the State Duma - passed a bill required for the New START treaty's ratification. The upper house - the Council of Federation - ratified the treaty today. It will enter into force upon the exchange of instruments of ratification.


Obama's State of the Union speech came during the USA's National Nuclear Science Week. Organized by the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it is described as a "broadly observed week-long celebration to focus local, regional and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science."


"Each day will provide for learning about the contributions, innovations and opportunities that can be found by exploring nuclear science," the event's website says.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News