Mike Franken. (IPBS photo)

Michael Franken, the Democrat running against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, says American ingenuity is the answer to the country’s energy challenges. Franken, a retired admiral, says his experience in the Navy indicates nuclear power can be an option.

“The Navy puts nuclear reactors way underwater and way up in space and on surface ships all over the world, so this is known technology,” Franken says. “We can adapt this.”

Franken says a small nuclear reactor, about the size of a house, with a core-life of 30 years could be managed by a very small staff and used to power small to medium sized cities. Iowa could make more use of solar power as well, according to Franken.

“There’s a lot of land out there that can be used in solar arrays,” Franken says, “and solar arrays are getting better and better all the time.”

Franken says other countries, like Portugal, get a good share of their electricity from solar power. “Entire nations whose electrical grid is predicated on a good solar underpinning,” Franken says, “and they’re at a latitude that’s north of us.”

Franken made his comments this past weekend while campaigning in Sioux Center, which is about 10 miles east of his birthplace in the small Sioux County town of Lebanon.

(By Mark Buss, KSOU, Sioux Center)

Radio Iowa