- Carol Browner, who headed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration, is flipped her stance on nuclear power and is now stumping for its inclusion in the nation's fuel mix.
- Known as an environmentalist, Browner said nuclear power's carbon-free generation has to be in the mix given the climactic threats posed by traditional forms of fossil fuel power.
- The issue is not so simple for other environmentalists, who point to the risks of radioactive fuel, and the fact that the United States lacks a long-term storage plan for waste material.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Carol Browner is now pro-nuke, but has to keep that stance under wraps at some dinner parties. "But you're an environmentalist — how can you be pro-nukes? ... I can tell you, I wasn't always," she said at a Chicago event hosted this week by industry advocate Nuclear Matters.
According to Browner, carbon pollution is the biggest threat to our environment and she said "I can't believe what I believe about climate change, about the dangers of carbon pollution and take off the table a carbon-free form of power."
Nuclear generation in the United States last year reached an estimated 798.4 billion KWh, and annually U.S. nuclear energy facilities for the past two decades have annually produced about 20% of the country's power. And 2014 was generators' most efficient year: 100 nuclear facilities in 31 states posted an estimated average capacity factor of 91.9%, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Nuclear power is an issue in the Chicago area, where Exelon has indicated three plants could be forced to close, potentially driving up power prices. The plants, Byron, Clinton, and Quad Cities in Illinois, could be forced to shutter after they were priced out of the market by cheaper competitors.