Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today expressed his support for advanced nuclear, when done right, as part of a broader low-carbon strategy to combat climate change. At Third Way's annual Advanced Nuclear Summit, Bennet discussed how investment in advanced nuclear will strengthen the United States' clean energy economy while securing its position as a global leader in nuclear energy. He also emphasized the importance of nuclear safety and minimizing waste, so as we solve one environmental problem, we do not create another.
"Eighty-five percent of the people I represent in Colorado-including a majority of Republicans-believe climate change is real, and we must do something about it," Bennet said. "In Colorado, our forests are dying, our farmers and ranchers are challenged by drought, and we owe it to the next generation of Americans to make sure we're solving this issue. If advanced nuclear can be part of that conversation, and even bring others to the table, I'm all for that."
"If we don't do the work, China, Russia, France, and others will surpass us. I would like us to be the leader in advanced nuclear technology and also be able to deploy it, which means we need to invest in our national labs, such as NREL in Colorado," Bennet continued. "President Trump's budget proposal is the opposite of the direction we need to go. Having said that, there's an important role here for the private sector. I don't think Bill Gates should have to go to China to get investment in his advanced nuclear company."
"If we control our energy future in this country, we will control our destiny," Bennet concluded. "We may contribute to peace in the rest of the world, and we may answer the question that a lot of Americans have: Can we have an economy that drives wage growth and drives economic inequality away? That can partly be solved through energy, which is why I believe bipartisan consensus will emerge."
Bennet has also introduced legislation to promote carbon capture, support renewable energy, and improve economic development in areas where coal plants have retired.
Bennet has heard Coloradans express concern with uranium mining safety and radiation exposure, and he agrees that we must ensure mining and milling for uranium is done in a way that protects communities' water and air. He cosponsored bipartisan legislation to compensate individuals that developed cancer from radiation exposure and establish a program to identify the health effects of uranium mining.