Written by Sen. Jim Inhofe
ICYMI: EPW Hearing Highlights EPA Regulations Impact
During an EPW hearing today entitled, "Nuclear Reactor Decommission Stakeholders Views,” Sen. Jim Inhofe drove home the point that our nation’s electricity is at risk of blackouts and brownouts due to the Obama Administration's misguided regulations. Committee witness Marvin Fertel, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, responded to Inhofe's concerns by stating that EPA regulations are shutting down coal plants and putting nuclear plants in jeopardy, thereby "shutting down the backbone of our electricity system."
Fertel also stressed that the volume of burdensome federal regulations being developed is diverting attention and resources away from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s and industry's important responsibility to comply with safety requirements.
INHOFE: One thing that hasn’t been talked about by any of the witnesses and with any of the questions up here, is the issue of reliability and dependability. Now we have a lot of sources and I think it is important that you address this because it is my understanding, if you can look at what can happen to a source of energy in this country- the most reliable would be nuclear. The lease reliable would be some of the renewables, like wind for example. You could develop a level of dependency and all the sudden the wind stops- and what do you do? I would like to have you address the significance of the reliability and dependability issue that we should be dealing with now.
FERTEL: Probably the easiest way to talk about that is to think back to the Polar Vortex that we had this winter. And we had a real problem in getting electricity and gas, particularly to New England- because of infrastructure issues and because of a shortage.
Nuclear Plants really have fuel onsite all the time because it is in the core. We don’t emit any emissions of any green house gases or any other criteria pollutants for that matter. Sen. Sanders mentioned the good local economic impact that a nuclear plant has. We also provide stability to the grid from the standpoint of voltage stability. So from a reliability standpoint, we see nuclear as a backbone of really our electricity infrastructure and right now in a number of markets that is not at all recognized and we’re hoping that more and more it will get recognized.
INHOFE: …I want to make sure we’re focused on this because we have heard a lot of prediction about what could happen in terms of this summer and the following summer if we were to have blackouts or brownouts in this country and that would be pretty disastrous. Are you familiar with some of those statements that have been made?
FERTEL: Yes, I am. They’re coming from people that actually look at that very hard, and not only just the industry side but the policy side and its because we are shutting down a lot of coal plants because of the EPA regulations. We have a number of nuclear plants in jeopardy because of policies that are making them uneconomic even though they are very economic plants. And again, if you shutdown coal and nuclear plants you are shutting down the backbone of our electricity system.
INHOFE: And I think that really needs to be talked about before the disaster occurs.