In August of this year, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, considered by some as an historic event. Skip Bowman, president and chief executive officer at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), who represented the nuclear energy industry at the signing ceremony, said in a statement that the nuclear energy industry commended the president for the vision and leadership he demonstrated to arrive at this momentous occasion. He also credited as equally important the cooperation among Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman and Congressmen Joe Barton and John Dingell, together with their leadership and that of other members of Congress who crafted and endorsed this crucial legislation, noting that this bipartisan effort will help establish future energy supplies that are more secure, affordable and reliable.

By supporting conservation, energy efficiency, new energy production and vital investment in the U.S. energy infrastructure, it is predicted that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 will lead the nation toward economic prosperity, greater security and even more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Up to now, investment incentives for new nuclear power plant construction have been slow to come, but with authorization for nuclear energy research and development and other provisions, this new law will put the United States in a better position to address the energy needs of the 21st century.

Bowman says it is now time for industry, government, consumers and other groups to work together to ensure adequate energy supply for our future, as this legislation provides many of the tools necessary to move forward to new nuclear power plant construction in this country, which will contribute to better public health and our environment by limiting air emissions.

Other activities also show that the nuclear energy strategy in the U.S. is gaining momentum. For example, DOE's Nuclear Power 2010, a Public-Private Partnership on Clean, Affordable Energy, will explore sites for new nuclear plants, demonstrate the efficiency and timeliness of the licensing process and conduct research to make the safest, most efficient nuclear plant technologies available in the U.S. Also, the nuclear energy industry's vision for the year 2020 for safe, reliable, competitive and environmentally sound nuclear energy calls for the addition of 50,000 MW of electricity to the U.S. power supply from new nuclear plants and an additional 10,000 MW from improvements to existing nuclear plants.

Maybe most importantly in this new drive for nuclear energy is a growing public acceptance of the potential benefits. The NEI has documented editorial and commentary pages from more than 50 national and regional newspapers and news magazines across the U.S., which expressed their support for nuclear energy and new nuclear plants. Let's keep the bus rolling. IH