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Will We Bury The Nuclear Renaissance? Does President Obama's Opposition to Yucca Mountain Imperil the Expansion of Nuclear Power and What we can do to get Nuclear Waste Policy Back on Track

Thursday April 2009

Keynote: The Honorable Pete V. Domenici, Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; Former Chairman, Senate Energy Committee

Panelists: Dorothy R. Davidson, Vice President for Government Programs, AREVA Inc.; David J. Modeen, Director, External Affairs for Nuclear Power, Electric Power Research Institute; Jack Spencer, Research Fellow in Nuclear Energy, The Heritage Foundation
Moderator: Max Schulz, Senior Fellow, Center for Energy Policy and the Environment

In many ways, America is experiencing a nuclear power renaissance. For the first time in decades, electric utilities are seeking to expand or build new nuclear power plants. That their operation leads to no “carbon footprint”—that is, no emission of carbon dioxide—has led some environmentalists to embrace what they once opposed. And nuclear power requires far less in public subsidy than such alternatives as solar or wind power. But a key nuclear power issue persists: what to do with its radioactive waste products? President Obama has announced his opposition to what had been seen as the solution: the proposed nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. His position brings into sharp focus the issue threatening to stifle the nation’s nuclear revival: What will happen to nuclear power if we fail to resolve questions about spent fuel? With Yucca’s future now in doubt, what steps can we take, and what alternatives can we pursue, to ensure that nuclear power can remain a significant contributor to the nation’s energy mix?