The former manager of Iowa’s only nuclear power plant says more nuclear power will be part of the country’s energy future, but questions remain as to how many new nuclear plants might be built. Bruce Lacy is the former manager of the Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo, and is speaking today at the annual meeting of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.
Lacy says fluctuating oil and gas prices show the need to have a good energy plan. Lacy says one of the things he’ll be talking about is the importance of thinking long-term for the country’s energy needs, and ensuring that nuclear energy is part of the plan to provide some of that security and help dampen out the downswings and upswings in the price of gas.
Lacy admits politics plays a big role in what happens, and says that means the new administration will have a big role in what happens.
Lacy says president-elect Obama is a "pragmatic" individual who he thinks has a good understanding of the energy needs of the country and he says "I’m optimistic that he will appreciate the benefits of diversity in our fuel supply."
Lacy says Congress is an area where he has more concern on the political side. He says Representative Waxman of California has taken over the House Energy Committee and Representative Markey from Massachusetts has taken over the energy subcommittee. Lacy says, "They both clearly have strong prejudices in their mind as to what types of energy technology they would like to see in the country, so I’ll be interested in seeing what the interaction is between the administration and the Congress in terms of strengthening the nation’s energy supply and energy diversity."
Lacy believes nuclear energy will be a part of any plan. Lacy says we are definitely going to see some new plants, although how many, when and where remains to be seen. He says 20% of the electric energy produced in the country comes from 105 nuclear plants. Lacy doesn’t expect any reduction in nuclear plants.
Lacy says over half the plants in the country have had their licenses extended, and he thinks the others will also have their licenses extended. He says there have been 25 applications for new plants across the country, and people are actively working on those applications. Lacy says politics, costs and other factors will all work together to determine the future number of nuclear plants in the U.S. Lacy now runs his own consulting business.