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[cdn-nucl-l] Greenspan - US should explore nuclear, coal options
Posted on Planet Ark on June 12, 2003 and at:
See the full US committee report on natural gas supply and demand issues to
the House Committee on Energy and Commerce at:
More about the US clean coal initiative at the US DOE fossil fuel web page
Greenspan - US should explore nuclear, coal options
USA: June 12, 2003
WASHINGTON - The United States should explore ways to expand nuclear power
and coal energy, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a
But no matter how much the nation diversifies its sources, it will never be
free from politically sensitive foreign suppliers like the Middle East,
Greenspan told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
"I think we are committed irrevocably to a global economy," Greenspan said
at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing to address looming U.S.
natural gas shortages. "I don't think we have a choice but to deal in a
The central bank chief said the United States should expand its ability to
import liquefied natural gas from countries like Algeria, Nigeria and Russia
to create a "safety valve" that can stabilize natural gas prices, which are
double year-ago levels.
Congress should also look at ways to increase energy supplies from nuclear
and coal, Greenspan said. The two sources together account for about 70
percent of U.S. supply.
"I think a major endeavor to examine this whole program is where we ought to
be," Greenspan said, referring to nuclear and coal industries. "At least
look at it rather than dismissing it out of hand," he told lawmakers.
The United States has 103 operating nuclear power plants that produce about
20 percent of domestic energy supply. Some utilities have said they are
considering seeking permits to build new plants, but optimism has been
tempered by lingering national security and plant safety concerns.
No new U.S. nuclear plants have been built since the 1979 accident at
Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island plant, which had a partial meltdown of its
Also this week, the U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic attempt to strip from
the energy bill some $10.5 billion in loan guarantees to encourage utilities
to build new nuclear plants. The Senate is trying to finalize its version of
a broad energy bill this week.
Few new U.S. coal plants have been built because of their high emissions of
air pollution and fears that the United States will bow to pressure from
Democrats and environmentalists to impose costly controls on carbon dioxide
Virginia Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher pointed out that the nation has enough
coal supplies to last about 250 years.
"We have got to find some fuel alternatives and coal is the most obvious
candidate," Boucher told Reuters in an interview.
New "clean coal" technology could be used to build new plants "with little
environmental effect," Boucher said.
Story by Chris Baltimore