Mo Brooks stands up for Jackson County’s Bellefonte nuclear plant
Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) questioned Edward McGinnis, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, about the “absolutely necessary” and “utterly unique” importance of nuclear power production in America during a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Energy Subcommittee hearing last week.
Brooks began his questioning by highlighting the economic benefits of bringing Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Jackson County online.
“In 2017, there were 99 nuclear power plants in 30 states in the United States operating fleet which generated approximately 805 billion kilowatt hours of energy. This is equivalent to 20% of total United States electrical output and 60% of its emissions-free electricity— there’s been some comment to that already, I wanted to reemphasize it,” Brooks said.
He continued, “One fingertip sized uranium fuel pellet, about this big, can generate as much energy as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas or 149 gallons of oil or one ton of carbon to kind of put it into perspective. We’ve got some political interest groups that would just assume that we not have any nuclear energy in the United States, or on planet Earth for that matter.”
Brooks asked, “Very quickly, can you describe what the impact on America would be if we were to suddenly decide that we’re no longer going to have nuclear energy over the next year or two? What would be the impact on the power grid and the ability of America to continue to function as we are today?”
“The impact would be incredibly negative, substantive, and long-term, not only from a resiliency perspective, needing to have 24/7 365 days a year nuclear or electricity available, not just when the sun is shining and when the wind is blowing. I would submit that nuclear energy has an absolute necessary role in and all of the above— and don’t get me wrong, we need all of the above— but nuclear energy still remains utterly unique, as you indicated, sir, density of power, there is no other power source that provides the density of power,” McGinnis responded.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn