GAS PRICES -- (Senate - July 24, 2008)
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Mr. ISAKSON. I thank the Senator from Tennessee. It absolutely is essential. The Senator and I share a common border between the States of Georgia and Tennessee, and along that border, Tennessee Valley operates. They are a big producer of efficient, inexpensive, reliable electric energy produced by nuclear power.
In the United States of America today, 19 percent of our electricity is generated by nuclear, 81 percent by coal, gas, and a sliver by hydro. That 19 percent that is nuclear does two things: No. 1, it is reliable, and No. 2, it emits zero carbon. Carbon reduction is in the best interests of our climate. It is also in the best interests geopolitically of the United States of America, by reducing our dependence on foreign imported oil.
I have offered an amendment to this bill, which has been filed, which is a new nuclear title, which reenergizes the nuclear energy business in the United States, which has basically been dormant since the mid-1970s while other countries around the world have embraced nuclear energy as the solution to their fossil fuel problem in terms of energy production and electric production. Look at the nation of France. Eighty-seven percent of their electricity is generated by nuclear. They have developed a reprocessing MOX facility that reduces their waste by 90 percent. So they have almost eliminated the waste problem, and they almost have total reliability on nuclear energy.
There is no silver bullet in this challenge of reducing gas prices and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but there are a lot of bullets we have in our arsenal if we are only willing to put them in the chamber. Nuclear is one of them.
One of the great things Senator Alexander advocated so much is the plug-in car that we know is coming. You can plug it in at night, recharge it, and the next day drive it and use it. At night, we are generating a lot of electric power that goes to waste because everybody is asleep and activity is slow. If you plug your car in at night, you are making good, efficient use of the electricity you are generating and wasting, and you are reducing totally, because you use electricity, dependence on oil.
I say to the distinguished Senator from Tennessee, nuclear energy is a piece of the puzzle--and this is a puzzle. I happen to know the answer to the puzzle. It is all the resources the United States has at its disposal to reduce its importing of foreign oil, increase our conservation, and incentivize production of the energy we know we have within our own capacity and within our own boundaries. I thank the Senator for recognizing nuclear.
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