Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Long Winter may be Over for Nuclear Industry

The President may not be able to pronounce the name of the power, but the Nuclear Industry is poised for a rebound during his second term:

Along the streets of this economically depressed farming town, optimism is running high that a proposed nuclear power plant could bring in new jobs, give a boost to local retailers and increase taxes for schools.

The U.S. has not started a reactor project for 29 years, but President Bush is calling for a new era of nuclear power, saying it would reduce air pollution and dependence on foreign energy. If new reactors are built, the first could go into Clinton or two other possible sites nationwide.

"It is the best option for power," says Stan Winterroth, a high school shop teacher in Clinton. "I don't agree with President Bush on anything else, but I think he is right on the issue of nuclear power."

To promote his program, Bush is to visit Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland today. It will be the first time a president has stepped inside a nuclear plant since Jimmy Carter rushed to Three Mile Island in 1979 to calm public fears just after the reactor's partial meltdown, industry officials say.

The Senate, meanwhile, is preparing subsidies and incentives for utilities to build nuclear plants. The nuclear industry has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into new technology in recent years. And the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has hired scores of engineers to accommodate an atomic renaissance.