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Expert witness tells Mo Brooks nuclear energy is necessary, utterly unique

Congressman Mo Brooks speaking on the House floor.

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, questioned Edward McGinnis, who is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, Thursday about the importance of nuclear power production in America during a Science, Space, and Technology Committee Energy Subcommittee hearing.

Rep. Brooks asked McGinnis:

“In 2017, there were 99 nuclear power plants in 30 states in the United States operating fleet which generated approximately 805 billion kilowatt hours of energy,” Rep. Brooks stated. “This is equivalent to 20 percent of total United States electrical output and 60 percent of its emissions free electricity. There’s been some comment to that already, I wanted to reemphasize it. One fingertip sized uranium fuel pellet, about this big (Brooks holds up a finger), can generate as much energy as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas or 149 gallons of oil or one ton of carbon to kind of put it into perspective. We’ve got some political interest groups that would just assume that we not have any nuclear energy in the United States, or on planet Earth for that matter. Very quickly, can you describe what the impact on America would be if we were to suddenly decide that we’re no longer going to have nuclear energy over the next year or two? What would be the impact on the power grid and the ability of America to continue to function as we are today?”

“The impact would be incredibly negative, substantive, and long-term, not only from a resiliency perspective, needing to have twenty-four seven 365 days a year nuclear or electricity available, not just when the sun is shining and when the wind is blowing,” McGinnis answered. “I would submit that nuclear energy has an absolute necessary role in and all of the above, and don’t get me wrong, we need all of the above, but nuclear energy still remains utterly unique, as you indicated, sir, density of power, there is no other power source that provides the density of power.”

Chattanooga real estate developer, billionaire and top Trump donor, Franklin Haney, has purchased the abandoned and never finished Bellefonte nuclear power plant and is seeking financing, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to finish the power plant.

Haney, who made his fortune in real estate, purchased the unfinished nuclear power plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2016 and has been busy trying to obtain the funding to get the nuclear power plant up and running. He has a November deadline to complete the deal.
The Bellefonte project has been endorsed by both Congressmen Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville).

Brooks told McGinnis, “TVA has spent over $6 billion on this facility. They recently sold it at public auction for $111 million which may very well make it the biggest boondoggle in the history of the federal government, particularly in relation to non-defense.”

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“There is an effort now to get that facility completed by the private sector,” Rep. Brooks said. “There are things that have to be done by the Department of Energy. If there is anything that you can do to send the message back the people of Jackson County would very much appreciate it because the University of Alabama has projected that the completion of this plant would generate over one thousand jobs, with an average salary of $136,000 per job. That is pretty dog gone good for the state of Alabama.”

It is not known what progress Haney has had in his efforts to get government assistance to complete the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant.

Congressman Mo Brooks is seeking a fifth term representing the Fifth Congressional District. He faces former Huntsville city attorney Peter Joffrion in the November 6 general election.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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