United States Needs More Nuclear Power

January 23, 2014

America is becoming too reliant on natural gas, says Mark Perry, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Overdependence on natural gas could expose Americans to soaring electricity prices, as natural gas has a history of price volatility. Becoming dependent on natural gas rather than coal or nuclear power -- both of which have price stability and are a solid hedge against fluctuations in gas prices -- could be dangerous.

  • For example, in a recent cold snap, the drop in temperatures sent electric power prices skyrocketing in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, from the usual $40 or $50 per megawatt-hour to $1,500.
  • Texas, a state that uses natural gas for more than 50 percent of its electricity production, also saw wholesale power prices reach above $5,000.
  • And Florida relies on natural gas for 70 percent of its electricity supply today.

The United States needs a mix of energy sources to keep the country from relying too much on a single power source. Expanding nuclear power would provide stability in the long-term.

  • Nuclear plants are safe and reliable and can provide carbon-free energy 24 hours a day, free of price volatility.
  • Natural gas is not a substitute for all other forms of power, and it accounts for 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Nuclear power, on the other hand, does not pollute the air and provides stability that solar and wind power cannot.

America needs to develop policies that encourage private investment in nuclear plants.

Source: Mark J. Perry, "To Balance Energy Demand, We Need Nuclear Power," Investor's Business Daily, January 16, 2014.

 

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