tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN November 18, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EST
>> i'm going to follow up, doctor, if you would explain a bit more about what your concern is that the devices that are being used actually in the hospitals -- what kind of mechanism should we have should the hospital systems are flly aware of what's in their hospital. >> hospitals want to make sure they have continuity of clinical work flow. they don't have to shutdown for several days. and so the problem is, when you don't know what your assets are, how are you going to protect that. if you don't know what courts are open, the manufacturers, they're not, i would say, willfully causing harm as far as i know, they're not providing enough information so that the hospital staff can do their jobs to assure the continuity of the
clinical facilities. so providing a bill of materials once it comes on device when it enters the hospital, it won't completely solve the problem, it's going to help you can't do step two until you do step one. you have to know your assets and inventory before you can effectively control mitigation controls. >> while that has life saving or life ending implications, what other sectors are you most concerned about, and this is for the panel that, you know, the sector integration, so to speak, of devices within maybe the system is not known. >> i'll just say public utilities, water, gas, electric, it surprises me how people laugh about, we don't have security, ha ha ha. we're not going to be laughing when lights go out. >> so i think looking at sectors is almost self defeats.
we're worried about interactions. when you ask somebody a month and a half ago whether vuner ability in a web camera can a lot of ways we barely know how the internet works. whether this attack and the answer was we're not really sure. it's the emergent properties of connecting everything that causes vulnerability. focus on sector, you're missing the big picture. they're all computers whether they have wheels or propellers or in your body. they effect each other on the same internet. i urge you to think wholistically and there are centers that are more vulnera e vulnerable, that's obvious. the cause could come from nowhere. >> mr. drew, question whether or not what your thoughts on as to
whether or not hacking back or some form of active fence should be permissible. thoughts on that? >> i know that this has been a fairly large debate -- we have green viruss if we know a particular exposure exist and we know that we can write software to go out and patch the system to get the malware off the system, then we would be better protecting both the consumer, as well as the internet as a whole. and i think that that is a fairly dark wrood to go down. i think that it's an excuse for us not fixing the ecosystem and providing the right incentives and right location and, po le potentially has impact, the author writing that software, as
he's touching a broad set out on the ecosystem. so i would say, i fear more of the kweconsequences of that. >> and going back to the question about whether or not we have the appropriate safeguards in place. we have 209,000 job openings right now, according to the doctor, what are the programs, degree programs or ore times of certification programs that should be offered that we're not offering enough in our higher end institutions or training programs. >> i think we need all of the above, it's called embedded cyber security. this is related iot bridging the hardware and the software.
building cars or designing cars need to know how you build security in that dhiing. there aren't enough -- into that thinking. and final comment, is the pipeline, i think in the engineering and some of the sciences we have difficulty, i think, tracking new resources, different demographics. i think we need to be much more -- much more out reach, the high schools and some of the kids were coming up to encourage them to go into these fields and, especially, in minorities. >> thank you all for your work. i yield back. >> thanks to gentle lady. >> thank you all for being here. taking the time and elaborating on these issues.
-- >> the device manufacturers and the majority of the locations with the devices were located were sworn. you know, most of what we're talking about here today from a regulation perspective wouldn't have direct significant impact on at least the adversary ris that were involved in the october 21st attacks. >> are there any other countries, international groups, et cetera, focused on the security issues right now. >> i mean, yes, there are a number of countries that are focused on very progressive cyber security controls in great britain, as an example, there's a significant amount of purchasing services you have to be certified at certain security
level. >> are you seeing any kind of, any kind of consensus on how to move forward and what recommendations would you give to congress or work together on those issues to help the conversation. >> i -- you know, i'm going to go back to my -- one of my organize points which is i do believe that we are missing, you know, defying the standards in this space, that we can get some adoption around, that we can get some pressure focused on and we can change buying an investment pattern. i think that by setting those standards and by setting them by both domestic and international groups, whether it's nift or iso, setting the standards so you can force buying behaviors consumers and businesses, i think it will be a major step
forward. >> i think innovation is progressing faster than discipline. and, you know, what tends to happen is we go on a bio rhythm of lack of discipline, causing significant unintended and unforseen consequences. our ability to adapt and respond to those is the thing that's going to keep that infrastructure protected and as well as continue to evolve it. so i i think that, youknow, the average cso has to manage 75 separate security vendors and that is to build on security controls for products and services that they're purchasing. when we get one of those wrong, there are some significant
consequences as a result. and so focusing on making sure that three market controls are placed in that infrastructure is going to be significant win for for us. >> you know, we were human. we write them down. we choose poorly. pretty much any password system is linked to encourage otherwise secured behavior. there are some technologies out there. there's one company in an n ar r arbor, where you have, for instance, mobile phone in addition to a password. but, at the heart of it we need to figure out otherwise and i'm going to defer to some of the other witnesses for suggestions on that. i feel we really need to retire
passwor passwords. we need to kill those off. these are going to bring down our most sensitive systems. >> passwords act the usefulness. and there are other technologies that you can secure with a code that comes to your phone, i can secure this with my fingerprint. there are many other systems that give us more robust authentication. and i think that would go a long way in a lot of our systems to help secure that. we'll talk about two different ways, talklnerabilitie vulnerabilities. if i can get rid of one of them or reduce it.
>> i think the chair, opportunity to ask another question, this one is a little philosophic philosophical. mr. schneider, you mentioned that the attacks are easier than defense on this complex system and making more complexity opens up new vulnerabilities. biological systems working the other way, they build complexity in order to defend themselves. is there some kind of parallel we can learn from on this? >> in the past decade or so, there's been a lot of research, it's moving the biological metaphor into security. there are some lessons and things that don't work, biological systems tend to sacrifice the individual, i'll
say the speecies, not something we want to think about. but there are ways of thinking about a security system, but complexity of a biological system is complexity that's constraint. you know, we all have a different, and that gives us resistance, our species against the disease, you might be able to do that with a operating system, it's going to be billions just suddenly much more expensive like, you know, orders around the magnitude. a lot of the lessons don't apply. some do. and the researchers are trying to learn from them. and that is kind of the new cool way of thinking and i think there's a lot of value there. but still, complexity, intended consequences -- unintended consequences, attack surface, makes it so that in the near -- in the least or foreseeable
future attack will have the advantage. my guess is thereby some fundamental advances into security which will give us, maybe not in our lifetime, but no time soon. >> you had mentioned along this line and i think you had merngsed in response to earlier question about the aton mouse vehicles and yes, yesterday in our trade center, we did have a hearing on on to no mouse vehicles. where the focus should be as that develop as a separate entity. >> i think it's really interesting test bed for what we're thinking about. i don't know how much detail you went, but what we learn is the vulnerabilities are surprising.
it's one attack that used the dvd player as a way to inject malware into the car that controlled the engine. now, that shouldn't be possible, but surprise. and similarly i'm worried about that usb port on the airplane seat, potentially trolling aif i don't knowics, the airline company will say that's impossible, but those in security don't believe it. so, again, the more wholistic we can be, the better. there are going -- always going to be surprises. to get back to the immune system model, how do we build resilience into the system, how do we ensure that it fails safely and securely. how do we ensure, or at least more likely that vulnerability here doesn't migrate to another vulnerability there, causing something more catastrophic. so the more we can look at the big picture, the less we focus on this or that because it's the connections. and so you think of it as expo
ne -- expo -- that's why this is -- that's why complexity is such a problem. >> well, and i posed the question earlier and it's for the three of you who wish to answer it. >> some multifactorial level of three dimensional. what are the things that you wondered about? >> i would say, the best advancement in the security space for us as an example is behavior analytics. it's being able to monitor the ned work and monitor the
enterprise and monitor the infrastructure and look for the hitter we've never seen before to determine whether that's unauthorized traffic or not. no matter what, it's based on bad guy being in the network and so our ability to be more proactive, our ability to get ahead of that attack and predict those attacks before they occur and change the technology before they can be exploited, that's where we need migrating. >> i worry about catastrophic ris k. >> it was one person had the expertise to figure out how to do, and now anybody can do it. it's unlike my home where you have to brave up the burglars who drive into my home is worth the bother, there's burglar quality. on the internet, it is the most sophisticated attacker i care about, anywhere in the world. because of the way computers encapsulate expertise into
software. i worry about the inability to change. i worry about being stuck saying, well, we've never done it that way before. i worry about saying things, that's unprecedented. well, the things are unprecedented. they're going to have to be changes. i do worry we don't have the strength and resol f to do it. it will take some guts, i think. this is forsight. in a safety world we saw this with hand washing in the 1840s. it was not a thought that crossed your mind. took 16 # 5 years to get to the point -- it's going to take some time for security, but time is right to do something now.
>> he also messed up his experiments to write them up well. >> it's been a very formative hearing, seeing no further members wishing to ask questions, i do want to thank our witnesses for being here today before we conclude, i would like to include the following documents to be submitted for the record by unanimous consent, a letter from the online trust alliance, a letter from manufacturers association, a letter from the college of health care information and management executives, letter from advanced medical technology association. and a letter from cta, rules, they have ten business days to submit additional questions for the record. i ask witnesses submit their response within ten business days upon receipt of the questions. i didn't say it.
>> sunday night the author talks about the former federal reserve chair in the book "the man who knew." he's interviewed by senior fellow of economic studies. >> unusual up bringing in the sense they're raised in the 19 # 50s. it was the child of single mother. his father left his mother when unreliable come see his son and show up. they reinforced they had to live inside his own head. >> sunday night at 9 eastern, go to book tv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> we're asking student it is to participate in this student's camby telling us, is the most urgent issue for our next president donald trump and the incoming congress to address in
2013. our competition is open to all middle school and high school students grades 6 through 12. they can work alone or in a group of one two three. >> nuclear fizzist, testified in a senate hearing about the future of nuclear power. they discussed aging nuclear infrastructure, nuclear waste and the adoption of new reacting. this is an hour and a half.
previous hearing in september we discussed what actions should be taken to maintain today's nuclear power plants and to ensure our country continues to invest. today we'll discuss the recent task force report on the future of nuclear power from the secretary of energies advisory board. we'll also discuss basic energy research and development to support nuclear power, work that's being done to safely extend reactor licenses from 60 to 80 years where appropriate and development of new nuclear technologies, including advanced reactors, small mod lar -- mod lar. i'll recognize each senator for
up to five minutes for opening at the same time and we'll go from there. he's chair of the advisory board and institute professor at mit. he's former director, deputy director defense. director of department of energy, second panel includes dr. allenizen haur. and oak ridge national laboratory dr. mccan he understand zi.
united on that stopping washington from picking winners and losers in the marketplace which sometimes disinsent vise. pushing back on excessive regulation. and emphasize, i'm sure won't talk about five factors limiting investment in nuclear power in our country. first is that nuclear power doesn't get enough -- and
american safety to tell me my house burn douchb and might buy some fire insurance. so my recommendation is that we should get some insurance in this country against climate change. i think the best insurance in the near term is nuclear power. makes no sense to close reactors at a time believe climate change
is a problem. need to invest in the next generation, we need continue to work with regulatory commission and move forward with small mod lure reactors. we take advanced nuclear to support the design development demonstration licensing and construction of first of a kind commercial skill reactor. dr. eisenhower who is here today, leads consortium of for advanced simulation of light water reactors. looking forward to hearing his discussion of that. secretary mo niece said in our hearing, by the end of the year, the department would begin to process moving forward with interim storage facilities for nuclear waste, solving, that's
something the senator congratulated him for and encourage. i'm pleased to report after the hearing the department took the initial step of seeking information on private interim nuclear waste storage sites. we need to move on all tracks to solve it and i appreciate the secretary's attention. senator mo niece -- secretary mo niece took that important step, congress should take the next steps and pass the nuclear waste administration act, introduced last year by the senator and cat and i, congress should pass the pilot program that will allow the secretary to take title to use nuclear fuel, both the pilot program and funding for private interim storage are included in this year's water appropriation bill, senator recommended in the committee approve. we need to maintain our existing nuclear fleet. we need to extend reactor
licenses from 60 to 80 years where it's appropriate and safe to do so. we need to relieve the burdens of unnecessary regulation to use the we've lost another 484 meg wauts of carbon free electricity. in conclusion, i would say this, imagine when united states is without nuclear power, that's the day i don't want to see our country's future, seems distant and unlikely, but it's a real thread. by 2038 just 20 years from now, 50 reactors will reached 60 years of operation representing 42% of nuclear generating capacity in the united states. so our country could lose about half our reactors with existing licenses can't be extented from 60 to 80 years in those reactors
close. are there four new reactors being built all in the southeast, there are eight reactors at seven plants which are scheduled to shutdown by 20, 25. the energy information administration estimates that shutting down these eight reactors, plus the recent closing of fort calhoun will result in a 3% increase with that i would like to represent the committee's extinguished ranking member for her opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i think you know there is really no one i expect more in the senate from either party than you and one of my great pleasures has been to work with you and most things we have agreed. we do not.
i think examining the potential risks and opportunities of advanced reactors is important. they're in competition with other clean energy sources and the 4,400 meg wauts of california's nuclear power, which is in the process of being shutdown, will be replaced with clean energy and california is going to aim to make 50% of its power all clean power before too long.
now. coolant's and moderators instead of water. in 1956 united states navy, the father of our nuclear navy sat in advanced reactors and i quote, they are expensive to build, complex to operate, susceptible to prolong shutdown as a result of even normal functions and difficult and time consuming to repair, end quote. and strangely enough his words have been prophetic. in 1965, the firming, sodium cool fast reactor went online in southeast michigan, 10 months later it suffered a partial melt down when coolant inland became blocked in the core overheated. it operated briefly again from 1970 to late 1972, when it was
shutdown due to cost issues. the plant took 9 years to build and operated for only three years. then in the 1970s, united states spent over a billion dollars on the clinched river -- the clinched river reactor project in eastern tennessee. something that we go through with uranium and plutonium processing now. president carter, said and i quote. the clinch river breeder reactor is a technological dinosaur.
these are the same reactor designs we're still discussing today. then it operated again for three months in 2010, before another accident during a refuelling. after spending $12 billion building, briefly operating and repairing the facility, the japanese government decided last month to abandon the project once and for all. recent history in the united states is not much better, the energy policy act of 2005 authorized doe to work with industry, to develop a next generation nuclear plan.
the plant was intended to process heat and hydrogen for use in industrial applications. the program included cost shared research and development activities with industry that would eventually lead to a demonstration facility. by 2012, this committee had invested 550 million in the next generation nuclear plant and was ready to move into phase two by inviting industry participation. but not a single company could be found to put up the meager $40 million cost share that was ne
needed this congress has not yet gra grappled with the need to find, despite the best efforts of this committ committee. a bottom line fact is that the existing fleet of reactors has generated 77,000 metric tons of highly radioactive spent fuel that staggering amount is growing by an average of 22 tons per year, even if some advanced reactor designs some day run more efficiently or consume more spent fuel, a future built on nuclear power is impossible if we don't have a solution for dealing with existing waste. mr. chairman, the nation faces real challenges in addressing climate change, grid
reliability, increased energy efficiency, a proper mix of generation sources, in each of these areas, this committee funds complex and necessary programs for research. i don't see how we can afford to divert several billion more dollars from these programs in order to explore speculative technologies that the industry itself has shied away from. i think nuclear power must over come its own significant shortcomings, one astronomical up front costs and, two, waste that is toxic for thousands of years. if nuclear is to be a significant solution to our climate challenges. before this committee besides to devote significant new resources to the development of advanced nuclear reactors, i believe we
need to see three things, one, a solution to nuclear wastes, long-term and viable. two, an indication that these reactor designs can over come their history i know that's a tall order, i very much will look forward to the witnesses today. i've known john for a long time. i have great respect for him and i look forward to listening to his testimony and the others. >> thank you, senator. i appreciate you bringing up climate change, it's happening.
i've been on the farm now since 1978 and things are happening that never ever happened before. some of them are good, a lot of them aren't so good. . the waste is the problem. . we've got to figure out how you can repurpose it and get done. we may be changing co 2. i don't think we want to do that. i think we want to make sure that if we're doing to have something that our kids and grandkids generations from now can deal with. it's got to work.
i appreciate the hearing. i think it's a good discussion and i think -- i don't think anybody on this committee and i certainly have the utmost respect for you, mr. chairman, wants us to do something that our kids are going to have to pay for. thank you very very much. >> thank you senator. >> mr. chairman, ready to prosteed to the witness. >> thank you. usually you're the only witness on first panel and you've worked long and hard on a task force report, plus you've got a lot of experience, if you need more time than that, why don't you take it.
i'm here to report to you on this task force that i chaired secretary asked to subscribe to initiative that had the potential of giving the country, the ability to have between 5 and 10,000 gig wauts of electricity built annually in a time period 30, to 2050. many other questions about nuclear power were not part of our task. what would the country have to do to restore the level that, for example, is here. i joined the department of energy in 1976. that was the task force.
they supplied community staff. i'm going to focus on the use of the community. what were the messages and then say a few words about five or six. if you do not undertake a major initiative now. it is inevitable that in 2030, the country will not have it. any such initiative is going to require time, considerable federal resources, redesign of electricity markets, and sustained management. third, there's no shortcut in
doing this. quickly, get you safe and reliable nuclear power. those are the take away messages. first, as you know, the nuclear fleet is aging and there have been a number of early retirements. the early retirements are due in many respect to the rules governor electricity rates and dispatch that differ in different parts of the country which makes it challenging to have value based nuclear power. examples include structure of rates and whole celica passty markets. preferential dispatchers for renewable generation, exclusion from nuclear portfolio standard
and rates that are inadequate to ensure. task force report makes it several suggestions for redesign market rate structure, but for existing plans, this has to be done on a state by state basis, different states are approaching it in different ways, new york came to some -- which seems to be suitable for that state. i believe that illinois is under detail discussions at the present time, but fund tally for resisting reactors that despairty market structure has to be addressed at a state level. it's not going to be changed easily. the outlook for the construction of nuclear plants of the united states and other oecd countries is bleak, primarily because of the high over night cost of nuclear power, roughly $5,000 which makes the levelized cost
for the foreseeable future, higher than the closest competitor, which is at least for the time being, with low natural gas prices, the levelized cost of electricity for actual gas. the cost despairty will be greatly diminished for carbon free nature. we recognized it two ways, assessment of the charge based on the social cost odd fossil fuel generated electricity or alternatively on a production payment to new nuclear plants, recognize that they're carbon free character. that is on the order of 2.7 cents per kill waowatt hour. you note, wind and they have that same carbon free character that indeed, do have an on going
through the production, through the investment tax credit, contribution for the tax credits of this country roughly come in with 2.7 cents. that would be a rule that i would apply to all who free electricity generation. the task force actually recommends a two part, it is not only about advanced nuclear reactors. first, are there light order reactor technology which will lead to new planned construction, lower cost, which have other advantages, such as small modular. so the first aspect, pursue which no longer have unproven technology which have the practical questions of cost, licensing, sighting, waste
management. they all need to have a 2.7 cent production payment or its equivalent in order to prove itself competitive with natural gas generation which is generation. for advanced reaction, based on new technology, the task force recommends a four part program to bring an advanced program from the research taking about 25 years but important aspect of that judgment is based on
for the period from where you start spending money on first commercial plant. where there are great technology. efforts to reduce technology risk. more by private sector invest stores see practicality of these new reactor i should say to you that when i was in the department of energy in the mid-'70s, the department confirmed president ford's decision not to do commercial reprocessing of spent fuel, and the department continually
proposed no additional funding for the breeder reactor, but there was a great effort to maintain lightwater reactor technology in the base nuclear technology for next-generation plants. but there's no question about it, that advanced reactors will have a different fuel cycle, and therefore require different approaches for both licensing and for waste management. that is a part of the challenge of moving to a new generation of reactors. now, we recommend for the management of this program that we propose, this 25-year, $11.9 billion -- $11.6 billion program -- the creation of a quasi public corporation, bid by congress for that one
appropriation for that long period of a difficult technical task going through several different administrations to pay attention and responsibly execute this program. i notice that the blue ribbon task force that you mentioned, that you both support, as i understand it, brent scowcroft represents exactly the same sort, the quasi corporation to carry out the waste management part of this challenge. there may be a possibility for having a single, as committee staff has suggested to me. quasi public corporation carry out both the waste management piece and the new reactor development piece. the nrc today only has recent experience with licensing lightwater reactor plants. that means if you want to proceed to an advanced reactor, the nrc must develop the capability to do that licensing
carefully. it's going to require more time and more resources for the nrc to do that job. we believe, and in our report we discuss -- we had two ex-chairs of the nuclear regulatory commission on our task force -- a staged approach to licensing advanced reactors that we believe deserves attention. some developers may choose to construct and license new advanced reactors in other countries, for example, china. i remind those developers and everyone here that the first time one of those plants come back into the united states, they will have to go through the whole entire nrc process again. so we will always have the oversight of the nrc prospect. my final point, mr. chairman, has to do with international linkages. for a long, long time, the counterproliferation policy of the united states, where we've been a world leader, has been based on the influence we have
through our knowledge and our activities in nuclear power technology. as you know, the plants which are going to be built around the world are not going to be in europe, they're not going to be in the united states. they're mainly going to be in china, in india, in russia, in several countries in asia which this will be their first plant. the emirates, turkey, jordan. we want to make sure that the proliferation and safety of those -- the proliferation resistance of those plants is maintained. we have a national security interest in maintaining our international activities, especially in safety, in the future of nuclear power.
i want to make a concluding remark. the task force completely anonymous of this report -- we had a wide range of different people with experience and backgrounds -- unanimous. especially unanimous on the point that if the united states does not undertake an initiative like this, the nuclear option's not going to be there in 2030. now that leaves open the broader question senator feinstein addressed -- does the country need this? is it a practical thing that we can do, given the fact that we have a changing administration all the time? and there were very widely ranging different views on that. so, it's not the case that everybody on our task force believes the country must do exactly this, but we all agree that if you don't do something like this, there's no possibility of nuclear power. then there's a set of people that say, well, what is the consequence of not having that base load generation? it will all be done with clean
power or renewable sources. differences of view on that, too. it depends very heavily, as this committee knows, on how the grid develops. but let me say it again -- we give you a program to consider, which is in scale in time of dollars -- in the scale of both time and dollars, one way of getting possibly a substantially 30% or so cheaper, not zero cost, nuclear power in the future. and we raise a warning that if you don't do something like this, the country does not have a nuclear option in the future. thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you. >> thanks, dr. deutch, and thanks to you and your committee for your leadership. we'll have a round of five-minute questions now, and i'll begin. just to reiterate, today we have, what, 99 reactors, or
about that. they produce about 20% of all of our electricity, about 60% of our carbon-free electricity. i know in the region where i come from, the tennessee valley authority expects to have about 40% of its electricity from nuclear power within a few years. and when combined that with its pollution control equipment on coal and new gas plants, it's going to be a very clean, lower cost mix of power. you're saying, though, that your committee unanimously agrees that if we don't take some action like the one the committee recommended that by 2030, as a country, we won't have the option of having electricity produced by nuclear power? is that what you're saying? >> precisely. let me say to you that when i joined the department of energy,
six or seven nuclear plants were being fielded every year. we had four u.s. manufacturers of reactors, babcock & wilcox, combustion engineering, ge, and westinghouse, four competing u.s. firms. that kind of capability is not going to be there in 2030, for sure. no new plants will be built in the united states unless they have a very favorable regulatory findings about managing the market impact -- the market problems that i mentioned to you. >> so we would lose 20% of what we call our base load capacity, of our electricity, which is base load capacity in this case, and about 60% of our carbon-free. what is likely to replace that, if that were not there? >> natural gas. natural gas. but sir, let me point out to
you, you i think said, how many, there are 50 or so plants which are going to reach 80 years of age? >> by 2038. >> and i personally do not think it likely that the companies that manage those plants or the nrc are likely to relicense these plants from 60 to 80 years. they're the oldest plants we have. they would require quite a lot of additional investment. without any attention to not whether their cost of construction's cheaper, but if they actually don't have their electricity dispatched for one reason or another, they're not going to be there. >> now, to reiterate again, you gave us a recommendation and said unless you do something like the 25-year, $11.6 billion program to create advanced reactors, we won't have the option. if we did something like that, we were more likely to have the nuclear option.
>> let me pull it back one step further. furthermore, in the first five years, we are proposing, part one is r&d phase. meanwhile, you have these advanced lightwater reactors coming on. they may fit the bill. but they're going to need some help, and there's no certainty that that will be there. but there may be somebody who comes forward with a lightwater reactor proposal that's as good as the advanced reactor stuff. we're not married to any particular technology. we want to see the best technology development. >> and you said that one of the difficulties -- you mentioned five different difficulties in the report, but one of the difficulties is that nuclear power doesn't get credit for being carbon-free at a time when many people think carbon-free electricity is important. and if i heard you right, you said that in order to get credit that would be equal to the credit given to wind power, for example, it would be 2.7 cents per kilowatt hour. >> roughly. >> roughly.
>> the investment tax credit, which wind and solar -- and of course, as you know, as the penetration of wind and solar increases, there's an intermitt yhency cost which has to be carried by somebody on the grid one way or the other. that's not included in these -- >> so, at the moment, taxpayers give wind, for example, a 2.7-cents advantage over nuclear power, both of them are equally carbon-free. >> yes, and i hope that i wouldn't be misunderstood to say i think we should take that away from wind and -- >> i don't mean that. i might do that, but i understand you wouldn't. >> my point -- i want to underscore this -- carbon-free electricity generation is important in the united states and the world, and nuclear is an essential piece of that here and elsewhere in the world. >> senator feinstein. >> you know, john, i've known you for a long time. it's interesting to me because i look at this so differently.
i look at it from the california perspective. i've been to southern california edison three times, seen the reactors. they have a problem with the steam generator. they buy two from a japanese company. they're faulty. they end up having to shut down the plant. they've got 3,300 rods in spent fuel pools, no place to put them. they have a big security force. they've got a plant on a shelf above the pacific with 6 million people living around. then i get a call from tony early of pg&e that they're going to shut down both of their reactors because they believe they can now find cost-effective, clean energy to replace their 1,100 megawatts.
so, i have all this spent fuel sitting in metropolitan areas, in an earthquake-prone state when the rim of fire is going around the pacific with big quakes. latest, oh -- yes, 7.8. i don't understand the push for this and the absence of a push to safely secure the waste. and we have tried, and he has enormous patience with me. and so, we have tried year after year to get a pilot waste. we know there are people that want to build it, a waste facility, where some of this waste -- because even if yucca went ahead, yucca would be
filled. and we have 77,000 metric tons of hot waste all over the country. to me, until you've got a methodology to properly harbor this waste for the millennium, it's ridiculous to talk about any of this, because something is going to happen one day, and it's probably on the pacific coast, some kind of fukushima is going to happen. and all the probabilities of a big quake are up. so, i sit here and i listen to this, and it's like i'm in a fairy tale that what i see in my sta state, with four of the biggest reactors shut down, waste piling up. it makes no sense to me. and i don't understand why the industry doesn't help us push
for waste facilities, and they don't. >> first of all, again, i want to remind you, these are very sensible questions to raise about the -- our task was to describe it. you may say, just the waste alone. but i want to make some remarks about that. this congress commissioned a group of people under the chairmanship of brent and lee hamilton. in 2012, they came out with a report, which was a systemic approach to managing the waste. you know, senate yorks i'or, i' say, i'm old enough to remember kansas, try to put the wastes away. and i'll tell you, that proposal from congressman hamilton and general scowcroft is a
absolutely sound way to in an orderly fashion address all of the concerns that you properly are raising. >> we had hamilton in. we sat there with the chairs of the authorizing committee. we put together a nuclear waste policy for this country, which was voluntary. we went through three chairs of the energy committee working on this, oh, from new mexico, bingaman, widen, murkowski. murkowski worked with us all along. we've got a bill in there that's the two appropriators, the two authorizers all support, and it sits in committee, and the nuclear waste industry does nothing to help pass it. why? i mean, i don't understand this. and we see the accidents take place. it's a kind of madness to build
stuff and not be able to properly dispose of the waste. >> pass the bill. the other thing i want to say -- i think it was, now, california. i want to turn to california for a minute. may i say a word about california? >> sure. >> which i know little about, except that i have now two grandsons living in palo alto, so i have a much bigger interest in their safety. >> right. >> i don't know how california's going to manage without those plants, but i don't think it's so clear that it's going to be cost-free. i mean, cost now in a risk sense. so, i would say i don't know the head of pg&e, but i know a lot of people in california who know a lot about energy. i don't think it's going to be so easy to get that energy. maybe, maybe -- >> all i can say is so far, so good. >> so far, so good is good. we have to keep at it, but i think it's not at all clear how it's going to come out.
>> well, i guess i plead with the industry to help us get a permanent waste facility, and one won't do it, and there have to be a number of them. you know, the whip accident, which is now costing in the billions of dollars. it's expensive stuff. we deal with the waste, with the plutonium and uranium processing, and it's the same kind of thing. it comes in in the hundreds of millions and it grows to the billions of dollars to build these facilities. so, somebody like me that sees what's happening in california says why are we thinking about this if we can't provide the infrastructure to do it right? >> we have to be players because there's going to be much bigger problems with these issues in india and china. and the people are going to be building these plants are going to be russian firms, japanese
firms, chinese firms. we have to be players in it. >> thank you, senator feinstein. well, senator feinstein and i are going to figure out how to pass that bill. senator udall. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. and thank you both for your commitment to this and having this hearing. mr. deutch, thank you. very interesting testimony up till now, and i hope it will continue. 110 nations have ratified the paris climate deal, which will demonstrate and initiate a need for nuclear power. here at home, more than 360 businesses and investors support the paris climate agreement and a low-carbon energy future for the united states. i am very concerned about president-elect trump's statements about withdrawing from the paris agreement. many nuclear companies and supporters recognize the need for nuclear energy to meet a
mission goal, especially in the short term when we need dramatic movement on emissions. won't withdrawing from paris have potentially negative consequences on the future of nuclear power? could you give me a yes or no on that? and then you can expand, of course. >> i don't think so, senator. >> you don't think so. >> i don't think i can give you a yes-or-no answer. >> okay, go ahead. >> no, no, no, i don't think it's a question which, you know -- my credentials here are to report on the secretary of energy's advisory board, not to make comments -- >> but the expertise that you have directly reflects on this question. >> senator, i'm just not going to be any helpful to you on this. i mean, i would go in a completely different direction, but this is not the occasion to address the question of paris or now -- they're out there in morocco now, right?
that's where they are, secretary moniz and secretary kerry, unless they've come back. they've been preparing for c.o.p. 22. >> right. >> but here i'm not the person to ask about this. >> okay. tod today, 20% of the u.s. electricity, and as the chairman said, 63.3% of our carbon-free electricity is produced by approximately 100 lightwater nuclear reactors. however, many of these plants may be prematurely closing before their 2030 planned retirement, which will result in an increased proportion of energy produced by carbon-emitting sources unless other renewables, solar, wind, are able to replace the capacity of these. what structural or statutory changes are needed to ensure
that our current nuclear energy fleet remains a part of the u.s.'s carbon-free energy grid, and what structural or statutory changes are needed to enable nuclear innovation and the modernization of nuclear energy reactors? >> sir, the answer is that there has to be market redesign. and that subject is dealt with in great detail, market redesign and some choices, what choices have to be made, in the report. i would not have the -- you would want to hear me talk about all of them, but let me just say that you cannot have the circumstances now with around the country, not everywhere, in southeast united states is an exception, you cannot have the market you have giving preference to -- in the dispatch of electricity, to non baseload-generating plants so they cannot make money, even if they were cheaper. so, you have to snind solution to that. that has to be done on a state-by-state basis, and it's a very, very tough task.
but otherwise, you're going to continue to have more early retirements, like happened in california. >> and i want to ask that first question in a little different way. i mean, there are many efforts, both at the international level, at the state level, and at our national level, to push us towards renewable sources of energy. pulling back on those do you think would be a good idea? >> no. >> okay. now, nuclear energy has a production task credit incentive and has had it for many, many years, as you know. however, that credit has now expired and the nuclear industry is preparing to ask congress for new forms of support. on the other hand, while renewable energy credits were
recently extended, as you know, they are being phased out, and there's no guarantee they will be extended again. rather than congress debating and continuing new technology-specific tax credits, like the nuclear ptc or renewable ptcs, would the best policy be a technology-neutral price on carbon, which would promote all clean energy technologies, including nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and sequestration? >> you say -- i didn't quite get the last sentence, sir. >> the last is, and it's a long one, so i'm going to -- >> thank you, sir. >> rather than congress debating and continuing new technology-specific tax credits that i mentioned earlier, like the nuclear ptc or renewable ptcs, would the best policy be a technology-neutral price on
carbon, which would promote all clean energy technologies, including nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and sequestration? >> absolutely yes. >> and that's your -- >> and, and i would include in that all the oil and gas drilling things as well, which gives subsidies for certain kinds of fossil -- the answer is yes. a single carbon charge. how the revenue is spent is critical to how it looks elsewhere, but the answer is, yes, it would be the most efficient way to do it. and that's, some members of my task force think that's exactly what should be done, but that's not part of our report because we're asked to frame an initiative, not to say balance it with all these things that we're now discussing. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator udall. senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, dr. deutch, for being
here and for your work on the report. i have to say, i share the issues that you raised in your testimony with respect to the importance of nuclear power as we're addressing our need to reduce carbon emissions, not only in the u.s. but throughout the world. i also share your concerns about the importance of american technology when it comes to nuclear safety around the world. i remember talking to one of our engineers from the seaberg nuclear power plant in new hampshire, who relayed to me what he was doing with russia after chernobyl in an effort to try and address safety there. so, i think those are very important and very relevant as we think about our policy. and i'm disappointed, as you've heard from several of the people here, that i served on the energy committee under chairman bingaman, when we produced an energy bill that would have addressed nuclear power in the
future. that never made it to the floor. we have another bill that's currently being negotiated. it's not at all clear if that's going to make it out of congress. that also addresses the future of nuclear power in this country. so, i think we have not been responsive in the way that we should in order to address the future challenges. in new england, 30% of our total electricity comes from nuclear power, so the retirement of nuclear generators is of particular concern. and you recommend significant reforms in the energy and electricity markets to help value the baseload power that's produced by nuclear reactors. i wonder if you could discuss in a little more detail than you did in response to senator udall what those kinds of reforms should look like, because as we look at new england's wholesale electric operator, iso new
england, i think it's a challenge that we have both now and are looking at in the future. so, what kinds of things are you talking about? >> thank you, senator. let me say that i'm not going to do as good a job as i could if i were here with some of my task force members who really specialize more in this than i do. but let me just take the case of illinois, where they closed i think two reactors. because there was no way for them to dispatch the electricity. at night, wind will even bid negative prices so that they get dispatched in order to earn the 3 cents or whatever it is per kilowatt hour production payment, production tax credit that they get. so, the fact is, you have to fix that. you cannot have a situation where some sources of technology get dispatched with a favorable rate because of a government
subsidy. others don't have the government subsidy, they can't -- if they can't dispatch it -- so, that's a specific example. many of the states do not acknowledge the kinds of rates that need to be set, given whatever dispatch rules they have, so that a company can get back its investment over time. that's a negotiation between the regulatory commission and the company, but there is a balance there. it's not being met in many places. every state is different. so, some parts of the country, like the southeast, are much more accommodative. but without market reform of some kind, this ain't gonna happen. and again, here's the situation everybody in the committee is unanimous on, in our task force is unanimous on. >> well, should ferc have a role in this? what role should their be in trying to look at this issue? >> i'm going to get myself into
trouble, but i think, yes, i think ferc should have a much larger role in this. and i guess there's a supreme court decision that gives them more ability to go into paris. but you know, we have a long, jealously guarded history of having local and regional utilities set their own rates on their own basis. but fundamentally, this does, in my mind, require more of a role for ferc, but it's another battle that i'm sure you guys would have to face. >> i'm almost out of time, but i also wanted to raise an issue that we're seeing in new hampshire with the seabrook nuclear power plant, because they will come up for relicensing i think in the early 2020s. and they've encountered some issues concerning concrete degradation. the asr, alkalized silica reaction. and they have led to concerns about the safety of the plant
and the relicensing process. so, is this something that the committee looking at the future of nuclear power has looked at? are there -- how should we address safety issues like that? and -- >> i believe, senator, that you're making exactly the same point that i tried to make earlier. when these plants turn to be 80 -- >> well, this one's not going to be 80. it's a relatively young -- >> but as they get to be older, questions are going to be raise ed that new plants would have to conform to, and now you have the question about are you willing to make an assessment of the risk and say to them, no, we're not going to relicense you, or you have to repair this? and that's going to be done on a case-by-case basis by the nrc. i don't know the circumstances at seabrook, although at one time i knew it pretty well. but i don't know it any more. but those questions in concrete
is a big deal. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. dr. deutch, you've been terrific witness, and it's good to have your experience and your straightforwardness here. i think i'm speaking for all of us. we thank you and your committee for your time and work and secretary moniz for impanelling you. if you have additional comments that you'd like for us to consider, why, we'd welcome your sending those to us after you leave. i think it's time now to go to the second panel. so, we'll excuse you and ask dr. mckinzie and dr. icenhour, who i introduced earlier, to come forward. dr. icenhour is the associate director of nuclear science at oak ridge national laboratory. and dr. mckinzie, senior scientist at national resources defense council. dr. icenhour, we'll start with you, if we may, and i'll ask
each of you to summarize your testimony in about five minutes, if you will, which will give us time to consider, to ask questions. and senator feinstein has an important appointment at 4:00, so we'll conclude either by then or not long after that. dr. icenhour. >> thank you, chairman alexander and ranking member feinstein. i am very pleased to participate in this panel today. at oak ridge national laboratory, i'm privileged to lead a very talented group of scientists and engineers as we address scientific and technological challenges in both fusion energy, radioisotopes, nuclear modeling and simulation and nuclear security. our nuclear fission r&d efforts include advanced reactor
technologies, lightwater reactor sustainability, accident-tolerant fuels, used nuclear fuels, modeling and simulation, such as the consortium for advanced simulation of lightwater reactors, materials and extreme environments, manufacturing and maintenance technologies, and safety analysis and licensing approaches. this expertise enables broader contributions to nuclear security, safeguards and non-proliferation-related r&d. we are all familiar with the so-called nuclear cliff, which is the point in time when the current fleet of plants rapidly retires. so, how will we replace that capacity? how can we rapidly innovate and enable affordable and reliable advanced reactor technologies? the united states has historically led nuclear energy innovation, and i believe that we must continue to do so.
development of the next generation of reactors will provide clean, secure and affordable energy and will ensure that the u.s. industry is positioned to compete internationally. rapid deployment of advanced nuclear systems requires a science-based design and licensing approach. with contemporary science-based tools and techniques, development can be accelerated in laboratory and high-performance computing environments, and this can also accelerate licensing. materials used in nuclear systems directly affect economics, performance and safety. the opportunity is at hand for a new generation of reactors that will also employ a new generation of materials. we also have the opportunity to see into reactors as never before. modern instrumentation and sensing techniques can optimize
operations and further enhance safety. predictive modeling and simulation tools provide a new basis for regulatory action and licensing. innovations can be introduced more quickly and designs can evolve on the drawing board. recognizing the challenges ahead, we must move forward deliberately to avoid the nuclear cliff. future u.s. policy for nuclear energy will be critical. decisions are needed with specific goals. rapid innovation will be essential and requires collaboration among the national laboratories, industry and universities. we must also leverage existing assets, for example, oak ridge national laboratory has unique facilities, such as our research reactor and hot cells for the safe handling, experimentation and analysis of nuclear materials.
or&l is working with idaho and aragon national laboratories to implement the department of energy's gateway for accelerated innovation and nuclear, or g.a.i.n. initiative, which is providing easier access to the technical capabilities of the national laboratories. the timelines and economics are a hurdle for new reactor technologies, but they can be overcome through approaches such as increased use of modeling and simulation, advanced manufacturing techniques and development of new materials. there is a growing national interest in the deployment of advanced reactors and the associated fuel cycle, as evidence by the number of summits, symposia, workshops, hearings and other events focused on this. such events reflect a collective sense of urgency. national laboratories are a vital part of meeting the
challenges to the future of nuclear power. a sustained r&d program is needed with clear, long-term goals. such program will retire technical and regulatory risk, improve economic competitiveness, develop the next generation of scientists and engineers, establish advanced facility capabilities, and address the entire fuel cycle. we are prepared to help solve these compelling challenges, and we are partnering to enable rapid innovation. together we can succeed in bringing the best of our nation's scientific understanding and engineering capabilities to bear on deploying the next generation of carbon-free nuclear energy technologies. thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with the subcommittee. i request that my written testimony be made a part of the public record, and i would be happy to answer your questions. >> thanks, dr. icenhour.
dr. mckinzie, welcome. >> is your microphone on? >> okay. i'll restart. chairman alexander, ranking member feinstein and members of the subcommittee, thank you for providing the natural resources dispense council, nrdc, with this opportunity to present our views on the future of nuclear power. nrdc is a national non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental advocates with over 2 million members and supporters. nrdc has been engaged with nuclear energy and nuclear weapons since our founding in 1970, and nrdc maintains a nuclear program, which i direct. the future of nuclear power in the united states is uncertain and faces significant challenges. as we've heard, most reactors will reach the end of their licenses and close in the decades ahead, and some are at risk of near-term shutdown.
in addition to economic challenges, difficulties for nuclear power arise from safety, security, proliferation and nuclear waste. and the role of nuclear power as a low-carbon energy resource is being superseded by advances in energy efficiency and renewal energy technologies. only four reactors are currently under construction in the united states, four large ap-1,000 reactors, in georgia and south carolina. one type of small modular reactor, the new-scale smr, may soon submit a license application to the nrc. so, with many nuclear closures and few nuclear builds, the future of nuclear energy is one now of decline. today's hearing considers what are called advanced nuclear reactors and how they could impact the future of nuclear power and government's support for their research and development.
to summarize my written testimony in a few words would be, be very cautious on advanced nuclear. first, see what results we get with our current government investment in new nuclear projects -- the ap-1,000s, the new scale smr. and importantly, prioritize unfinished business for nuclear -- the waste issue, among others. for decades, nuclear scientists and engineers have sought to develop advanced nuclear designs that reduced the amount of waste generated, that lower nuclear weapons proliferation risk, and that improve safety. but such benefits from advanced nuclear are still theoretical. and importantly, there is no evidence that advanced nuclear would be economically competitive in the future. in our testimony, nrdc respectfully offers five recommendations for the subcommittee in consideration of the government's role in advanced nuclear energy research and development.
so, i'll go through these five recommendations. recommendation one -- and i think this was echoed a lot in today's hearing -- give priority to solving the nuclear waste problem. many thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel must be isolated from people and from the environment for millennium. so, our recommendations cite and construct a deep depository using a consent-based and science-based process before spending money on advanced nuclear. recommendation two -- wait on the construction of the ap-1,000s and the new scale smr, assess the lessons learned from these projects for their safety, reliability and cost before looking at an advanced nuclear demonstration plan. recommendation three -- consistently apply a nuclear weapons proliferation test to advanced nuclear designs. among the energy technology choices for the united states, nuclear power is unique in the
overlaps between civilian energy technology and nuclear weapons. the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation from nuclear power can be managed, can attempt to be managed, but never eliminated. preventing proliferation is of utmost importance for the future of nuclear energy. recommendation four -- consider the full impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle associated with advanced reactors, including severe accidents. many aspects of the lightwater reactor fuel cycle are still not worked out, including, it hasn't come up yet at this hearing, but the issue of decommissioning. recommendation five -- get clear on the economic competitiveness for advanced nuclear early on. nrdc feels like history should teach us a caution. this was echoed in your opening statement, senator, that funding advanced nuclear research and development for uneconomical designs can mean taxpayers are then responsible for far greater sums in the future. to conclude, if an energy policy
goal for subcommittee members is to preserve the nuclear power option in the future, then we hope you maintain a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the benefits promised by advanced nuclear technology concepts that seek taxpayer support. thank you. >> thank you, dr. mckinzie. senator feinstein. >> thanks, mr. chairman. mr. mckinzie, you know, it's interesting, because we have no nuclear waste policy in this country. and as such, we pile up fines -- i think it's $20 million a year -- which are in the hundreds of millions of dollars and yet still fail to act. you've looked at this. why does that happen? i mean, why wouldn't the industry want a nuclear waste policy? why wouldn't they want a nuclear policy, a process by which
this -- we've debated it, we've discussed it, and come to the conclusion, you know, that it has to be practical, it has to be voluntary, states have to want it. we have one in new mexico, whip. the people of whip and around it want it. they take great pride in it. a stupid accident or even the most sophisticated agency, los alamos, who contracts out the kitty litter, and they use the wrong kitty litter, and it explodes. so, it's very hard for some of us to conceive of a future that's properly carried out. and now that these smrs are being proposed, i am told that the only way they're
economically cost-efficient is if they're ground together. so, if you're going to put 300 or 400 megawatt reactors, four in one place, you still have to deal with the waste. how do you do that? so, i guess i've really developed a very jaundiced view about the practicality in this country and the ability -- i mean, i was alerted by what senator shaheen said about the concre concrete. without going into it, john deutch said, well, that's a serious problem. now i'll go and look and find out exactly what it is. so, if either of you have some comments to make, because i think our first responsibility is safety to the public, is to see that these things are secure, that the waste is secure, that they are as functional and efficient and
well built as they possibly can be, sided appropriately, run scrupulously. and that's difficult to have happen. and so, it doesn't surprise me that people coming up or companies coming up for relicensing may opt not to go ahead. >> i would -- if i could be very candid on why i think industry hasn't supported a nuclear waste solution in a vigorous way, i think it would be because the current waste situation, it's consistent with the industry's business model -- storage of spent nuclear fuel, mostly in wet pools, some in dry cask at reactor site. that's fine with the business model. nrdc objects to the nrc finding that long-term storage of spent
nuclear fuel in wet pools, in densely packed wet pools, doesn't represent an incredible danger, an incredible risk. but yet, that is tolerated by the regulator. so, there just is inertia in the industry. >> somebody correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe you store them for five to seven years, and then they should be removed from the spent fuel pool and they should be put in dry casks, hopefully, transportation-enabled dry casks to be removed to a permanent waste facility, which we don't have. i can only speak for california, which i know these things are stacking up. and you know, there's a very real danger in spent fuel pools. if the water disappears, if the pool is fragmented by an earthquake and you have all these hot rods, 3,300 piled up,
it's a big problem. so, no one seems to care. that's what really bothers me. no one seems to care. >> it's a very difficult problem. the nrdc advocates for a consent-based and science-based approach on deep deologic repositorie repositories. that includes authority at the state level for regulating radioactive materials. that's not there. that is a component of whip and why we believe whip was able to go forward in the first place. but we believe that state authority in regulating radioactive materials with respect to a repository is a key element to include. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks, senator feinstein. thanks to both of you. i'll have a few -- just a couple of comments. i would not want people to leave this hearing without a different view being expressed about the safety of nuclear power.
there's never been a death in connection with the commercial operation of nuclear reactors in the united states since they began. there's never been a death attributable to reactors in the navy since the 1950s when they began. the only most celebrated accident we had in the united states was three mile island in 1979. and despite years of testing of everybody in the area, no one was hurt. so based on the safety record, no other form of energy has a better safety record, and the nuclear regulatory commission, which has extensive, careful regulation, has determined that the used fuel is safely stored for many years in the places where it is, which is on site. and you know, i agree that we need to move it, and i would like to get it out of california, too, but we have a
place to put it, and the place is yucca mountain in nevada, and the law says that's where it should go, and the courts say that's what the law says, and the scientists have said that it's safe there for a million years. so, we really -- and yucca mountain's large enough to accept all of the used nuclear fuel that we have stored on site in the united states today. so, we have a stalemate in the congress. the reason we haven't passed the legislation senator feinstein and i would like to pass is because we take the position that we should move ahead on all tracks at once, and if we get stuck on one, we should still, namely yucca, we should continue to move on the others. some of those who strongly support yucca mountain say, well, if you don't move on yucca, you're not going to move on anything. well, we've got to solve that. that's our responsibility, really. the help of others would support
our position, that's true, but that's our responsibility to work out and we're going to continue to try to do that. dr. icenhour, i just have maybe one or two questions. you heard the testimony about the proposal for two advanced reactors to be licensed and ready for construction in the 2030s from dr. deutch's report. do you think the goal is achievable? and if so, what do you think it will take to accomplish it? >> yes, senator, i do believe that is achievable. and one of the things i reflect on -- i like history also, as senator feinstein said. and when i drive in oak ridge national laboratory, i drive past the graphite reactor. and that's a lesson in history of what this country can do, a reactor that was built in nine months, went critical in november 1943. and that just reminds me of what
we can do when we decide to do something. and so, the question is how do we get there? we have to first of all decide to do it and move forward, much like mr. deutch was saying. we have to decide we're going to do this. we have to set clear goals. we have to have focused effort, focused r&d that will help move us along the way. and it will take a public-private partnership to do this. and then the final element i would add is, along the way we have to continue to work with nrc to have the appropriate regulatory framework in place. >> dr. icenhour, you talked about the big computers at oak ridge and the work you're doing on modeling and simulation. as we talk about relicensing, taking, say, seabrook maybe from 40 years to 60 years or taking some of the existing reactors from 60 years to 80 years, which
the nuclear regulatory commission is considering, how can the supercomputers you work with help with determining whether it's safe and appropriate to do that or not? >> well, one example of that, senator, is, of course, the consortium for advanced simulation of lightwater reactors or c.a.s.l., which has developed a very high-fidelity model of a nuclear reactor, and so we're able to understand that very clearly what's happening with the reactor and as changes occur. and so, it's the use of advanced modeling simulation coupled with experimental data that can help enable the understanding and help inform the basis for moving forward for life extensions. >> dr. mckinzie, you work for a
well-recognized group, the national resources defense council. i would assume you and the council are concerned about climate change? >> yes, we are. >> dr. deutch said his committee was unanimous that if we didn't take some action, that by 2030, we wouldn't have nuclear power option going forward in the united states, so we would lose 20% of our electricity and 60% of our carbon-free electricity. do you think that helps us deal with climate change? >> i would dis -- i question the 2030 as a cliff where all of that power suddenly turns off. it will be more like a ramp down in power as different units reach different ages and -- >> well, but his testimony, nan louis by a widely divergent money was that if we hadn't acted by 2030, the option would be gone, which i guess means that by then, we wouldn't have a way to continue it as over the next 20 years the rest of the reactors closed. >> addressing climate change is
a critical problem that requires a transformation in how our country, how the world generates and consumes energy. in the united states right now we have a mix -- >> well, wait a minute, my question is, do you think that it helps dealing with climate change to lose the nuclear option by 2030, as his task force unanimously said would happen? >> i'm a skeptic that nuclear will be able to deliver the energy, the low-carbon energy that we need to address climate change. >> well, but today it produces 60% of our carbon-free electricity. >> but it has an uncertain future. >> well, but how much of our carbon-free electricity does wind power produce today? >> wind power produces less carbon-free energy than nuclear, but renewable energy, energy efficiency, it has really made
incredible advances recently and showing itself as a lower cost option than nuclear for addressing climate change and -- >> so you'd be comfortable losing the nuclear option in terms of our country's ability to deal with climate change. >> i am uncomfortable with unresolved problems for nuclear energy, unsolved problems. i believe that pragmatically, nuclear will continue at a lower level into the future. i don't imagine it vanishing. we have the four ap-1,000 reactors under construction. so i think that a scenario in which everything is gone by 2030 is perhaps too negative for nuclear energy, but i'm a skeptic that nuclear can continue to contribute at its current level. >> what would replace it? >> well, the department of energy's own national laboratories have seen a scenario where renewable energy can be the dominant source of
clean energy in the future. >> meaning windmills? >> solar, wind -- >> solar is today less than 1% of our electricity, right? >> that's correct. >> and wind is about 3% or 4% of our electricity -- >> but the recent growth has been extraordinary. and that trend we believe will continue. >> and the wind is available when the wind blows and the solar is available when the sun shines? >> there is an issue of base load versus non baseload generation to contend with. i would say that the transmission grid is evolving in time and changing in time and adapting to variable generation as well as there will probably be advances in storage. i think that nuclear will probably play a role in the future. i'm not sure how large, and i do
know there are longstanding problems to solve first. >> so, you do agree that finding a way to store used nuclear fuel -- i believe it was your testimony -- is an urgent -- >> absolutely. >> so you support opening yucca mountain? >> no, nrdc does not support opening -- >> why not? the law says it should. the court says the law says that, and the scientists say it's safe for a million years there. >> well, the process of restarting the yucca mountain project would begin with the license application. and the resolving over 200 contentions, new and significant information that may actually necessitate starting from scratch in terms of the license -- >> so you think we can open another repository more rapidly than we could complete yucca mountain? >> we believe that yucca mountain will likely fail. and so, we do need to go back to basics and -- >> but do you think we can open -- so, you -- and it would fail because groups like yours don't support doing it, even
though the science says it's safe there for a million years and the law says we should do it. >> we don't believe it would be able to get through the licensing process. nrdc is not party to the licensing process. >> yucca mountain would be large enough to hold all the stored nuclear fuel in the country that we have today, correct? >> modifications to yucca mountain are in vision that would enable it to store more fuel and require it to include things like titanium drip shields to prevent operational waste -- >> wait a minute, the nuclear regulatory commission has testified here that yucca mountain's large enough to hold all of the nuclear fuel that's currently stored at the approximately 100 reactors in the country. do you disagree with that? >> no, i don't disagree with that. if you're talking about the 77,000 tons that are stored currently. but the united states will generate, again, as much between now and midcentury. >> right. so, my view is that we should open yucca mountain, the fuel we
have there, move it out of california, other places where it is, and open new repositories, maybe a private repository, and solve our stalemate. well, in any event, we've had a terrific wide range of views here today, both from the senators and from expert witnesses, dr. mckinzie, dr. icenhour. thank you both so much for being a part of our discussion. i've got the wrong page. the hearing record will remain open for five days. all statements submitted by our witnesses and senators will be included in the record. the subcommittee requests all responses for the record be provided within 30 days of receipt. if either of you have something you'd like for us to consider that you didn't have a chance to say today or when you go home you wish you'd said, if you'll send it to us, we'll distribute it to the other senators. we thank you very much for taking your time to be here.
subsidy or the same subsidy, and then excessive regulation may be important. >> but can you do that under an administration that doesn't really see climate change as a threat? >> well, climate change isn't the only reason for nuclear power. the main reason is that it produces reliable power 95% of the time at a low cost that will help attract jobs. as soon as japan and germany started closing nuclear power plants, manufacturers started looking at the tennessee valley to build their plants. i mean, electricity prices in germany have gone through the roof because they've closed their nuclear power plants. and for big manufacturing country, if you want to create jobs, you don't need power just when the sun shines and the wind blows. you need it all the time. >> do you support a recommendation for this carbon tax or a technology-neutral tax? >> i'm not ready to do that yet.
i do want to see nuclear power treated equally with every other form of carbon-free electricity, particularly since it produces reliable base load power and it produces 60% of all the power we have. i am puzzled -- i'm glad to see that some of those who care the most about climate change, like senator whitehouse, have come around to the position that it makes absolutely no sense to close nuclear reactors if you care about climate change, since climate change is caused by carbon and nuclear power plants produce 60% of our carbon-free electricity. i think most people -- one of the reports of the task force was that nuclear doesn't get enough credit for being a carbon-free source of electricity. maybe these hearings will help do that. >> yeah, all right. thank you, senator. >> thank you.
a signature feature of c-span2's book tv is our coverage of book fairs and festivals. this coming weekend, book tv will be live from the 33rd annual miami book fair. saturday's coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern. here's some of what you'll see. "the new york times" book review editor pamela paul on "by the book, writers on literature and literary high" from the book review. wesley lowrie with his book "they can't kill us all." and former democratic presidential candidate senator bernie sanders takes your phone calls and talks about his book, "our revolution: a future