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SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
President's National Energy Policy:
Hydrogen and Nuclear Energy R&D Legislation
THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2001
10:00 A.M.1:00 P.M.
2318 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
I. Purpose of the Hearing
On Thursday, June 14, 2001 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 2318 RHOB, the Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on the ''President's National Energy Policy: Hydrogen and Nuclear Energy R&D Legislation.'' The President's National Energy Policy developed by the National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) Group chaired by Vice President Cheney made a number of recommendations concerning hydrogen and nuclear energy.
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The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony regarding legislation: (1) to reauthorize the Hydrogen Future Act of 1996; and (2) on nuclear energy R&D provisions contained in H.R. 1679, introduced by Representative Lindsey Graham (SC3) and provisions contained in draft legislation expected to be introduced by Representative Judy Biggert (IL13) this week as a companion bill to S. 242, introduced by Senators Bingaman, Domenici and Crapo.
The hearing will consist of two panels. The first panel will consider reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act of 1996 and witnesses will include: (1) The Honorable David K. Garman, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); (2) Dr. H.M. Hubbard, Chair, Committee on Programmatic Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Power Technologies, National Research Council; (3) Arthur T. Katsaros, Group Vice President-Engineered Systems and Development, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Lehigh Valley, PA, on behalf of the National Hydrogen Association; (4) David P. Haberman, Chairman, DCH Technology, Inc., Valencia, CA; and (5) Dr. Peter Lehman, Director, Schatz Energy Research Center, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA.
The second panel with consider nuclear R&D legislation and will commence with testimony Representatives Graham and Biggert followed by a group of witnesses who will include: (1) William D. Magwood, IV, Director, Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, DOE; (2) Joe Colvin, President, Nuclear Energy Institute; (3) John Kotek, Argonne National Laboratory-West, Idaho Falls, ID, and Co-Chair, Public Policy Committee, American Nuclear Society; and (4) Anna Aurilio, Legislative Director, U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Page 267 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 2. Background
The President's NEPD Group chaired by Vice President Cheney made a number of recommendations concerning hydrogen and nuclear energy.
In the case of hydrogen, the NEPD Group recommended that the President direct the Secretary of Energy to: (1) develop next-generation technologyincluding hydrogen; (2) develop an education campaign that communicates the benefits of alternative forms of energy, including hydrogen; (3) focus R&D efforts on integrating current programs regarding hydrogen, fuel cells, and distributed energy; and (4) support legislation reauthorizing the Hydrogen Energy Act (i.e., the Spark A. Matsunaga Hydrogen Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1990/Hydrogen Future Act of 1996).(see footnote 39)
With respect to nuclear energy, the NEPD Group recommended that: (1) the President support the expansion of nuclear energy in the U.S. as a major component of our national energy policy; (2) in the context of developing advanced nuclear fuel cycles and next generation technologies for nuclear energy, the U.S. should reexamine its policies to allow for research, development and deployment of fuel conditioning methods (such as pyroprocessing) that reduce waste streams and enhance proliferation resistance; and (3) the U.S. should also consider technologies (in collaboration with international partners with highly developed fuel cycles and a record of close cooperation) to develop reprocessing and fuel treatment technologies that are cleaner, more efficient, less waste-intensive, and more proliferation-resistant.(see footnote 40)
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The NEPD Group Report includes the following comments on hydrogen:(see footnote 41)
''In the long run, alternative energy technologies such as hydrogen show great promise. Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and can be made from water. Converting hydrogen into energy is compatible with existing energy technologies, such as fuel cells, engines, and combustion turbines. The energy for extracting hydrogen could come from existing, traditional fuels, or it could be derived from renewable energy sources, such as solar, nuclear, and fossil, to achieve the cleanest possible energy cycle. Hydrogen can be converted into useful energy forms efficiently and without detrimental environmental effects. Unlike other energy sources, its production by-product is water.
''In the future, hydrogen may be able to be used in furnaces and as a transportation fuel for automobiles, buses, trains, ships and airplanes. Hydrogen could also be converted directly into electricity by fuel cells. Combustion of hydrogen with oxygen results in pure steam, which has many applications in industrial processes and space heating. Moreover, hydrogen is an important industrial gas and raw material in numerous industries, such as computer, metallurgical, chemical, pharmaceutical, fertilizer and food industries.
''An energy infrastructure that relies on hydrogen could enable much greater use of distributed energy systems. These systems are small, modular electricity generators that can be placed right where they are needed for heating, cooling, and powering offices, factories, and residences. Hydrogen fuel cells are a promising type of distributed energy system that can provide the exacting reliability needed for the high-tech industry.''
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''The primary challenge to using more hydrogen in our energy systems is the cost of producing, storing, and transporting it. A serious challenge confronting a move toward distributed energy is the transition away from centralized energy systems of supply and production. These challenges are not expected to be resolved overnight, but progress made in the last few years has already far surpassed the expectations of just a decade ago.''
In 1990, Congress passed the Spark M. Matsunaga Hydrogen Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1990 (Public Law 101566). The Act: (1) directed the DOE to prepare and submit to Congress a comprehensive five-year management plan for a hydrogen R&D program designed to identify and address areas of research critical to the realization of a domestic hydrogen fuel production capability within the shortest time practicable; (2) mandated the establishment of the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel (HTAP), a body of hydrogen experts in industry and academia, who advise the Secretary of Energy on the status of and recommended direction for the furthering of hydrogen energy development; and (3) authorized appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 1992 ($3.0 million), FY 1993 ($7.0 million), and FY 1994 ($10.0 million).
The Hydrogen Future Act of 1996 (Public Law 104271) amended the 1990 Act primarily by authorizing the spending of $164.5 million for the 6-year period FY 1996FY 2001 ($14.5 million for FY 1994, $20.0 million for FY 1997, $25.0 million for FY 1998, $30.0 million for FY 1999, $35.0 million for FY 2000, and $40.0 million for FY 2001). Title II of this Act also instructed DOE to solicit proposals for projects to prove the feasibility of integrating fuel cells with photovoltaic systems for hydrogen production or with systems for hydrogen production from solid waste via gasification or steam reforming; while a total of $50.0 million was authorized for this purpose for FY 1997 and FY 1998, funds were never appropriated. In FY 2001, Congress appropriated $26.881 million for DOE's Hydrogen Research Program, and DOE has requested an identical amount for FY 2002.
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Recently, a National Research Council Committee completed a review of DOE's Hydrogen Research Program. It noted that the Program ''is monitored by a unique statutory body, the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel (HTAP), which creates an administrative and management gauntlet.''(see footnote 42) Among other things, the Committee also recommended that the Program ''should be reoriented with a longer term perspective and broader participation bay other elements of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) energy research establishment.''(see footnote 43) The complete set of the Committee's findings and recommendations are contained in Attachment A.
Attachment B contains a discussion draft bill (and an accompanying section-by-section analysis) that reauthorizes the 1990 Hydrogen R&D Act and amends the 1996 Hydrogen Future Act. This draft bill authorizes a total of $400.0 million for the 5-year period FY 2002FY 2006including $250.0 million for R&D and $150.0 million for demonstration projects. The draft bill also proposes to replace HTAP with a National Academy of Sciences Advisory Board.
2.2 Nuclear Energy
The NEPD Group Report includes the following comments on nuclear energy:(see footnote 44)
''Nuclear energy accounts for 20 percent of all U.S. electricity generation, and more than 40 percent of the electricity generated in 10 States the Northeast, the South, and the Midwest. Despite the closure of several less efficient plants during the 1980s, the 103 U.S. nuclear energy currently operating produce more electricity today than at any time in history.
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''There are a number of reasons why nuclear energy expansion halted in the 1980s. Regulatory changes implemented after the Three Mile Island incident in 1979 lengthened the licensing period to an average of 14 years, resulting in large cost overruns. Increased public concerns about the safety of nuclear energy after the accident often resulted in active opposition to proposed plants. As a result, the last completed nuclear energy plant in the United States was ordered in 1973.
''Since the 1980s, the performance of nuclear energy plant operations has substantially improved. While U.S. nuclear energy plants once generated electricity only around 70 percent of the time, the average plant today is generating electricity close to 90 percent. This improved performance has lowered the cost of nuclear generation, which is now competitive with other sources of electricity.
There is potential for even greater generation from existing nuclear energy plants. Experts estimate that 2,000 MW could be added from existing nuclear power plants by increasing operating performance to 92 percent. In addition, about 12,000 MW of additional nuclear electricity generation could be derived from uprating U.S. nuclear power plants, a process that uses new technologies and methods to increase rated power levels without decreasing safety. However, modifications to uprate plants can be expensive and require extensive licensing review and approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Another way to increase nuclear generation from existing plants is through license renewal. Many nuclear utilities are planning to extend the operating license of existing nuclear plants by twenty years, and the licenses of as many as 90 percent of the currently operating nuclear plants may be renewed.''
Page 272 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 ''Utilities are also considering nuclear energy as an option for new generation. The NRC has certified three standardized nuclear power plant designs, and Congress enacted legislation in 1992 to reform the nuclear licensing process. Under this process, a utility can apply for a combined construction and operating license for one of these standardized designs in a streamlined process. This reformed licensing process provides for site permitsa way to resolve siting issues early in the process. Building new generators on existing sites avoids many complex issues associated with building plants on new sites. Many U.S. nuclear plant sites were designed to host four to six reactors, and most operate only two or three; many sites across the country could host additional plants.
''Advanced reactor technology promises to improve nuclear safety. One example of an advanced reactor design is the gas-cooled, pebble-bed reactor, which has inherent safety features. The industry has an interest in this and other advanced reactor designs.
''The Federal Government must also provide for the safe disposal of nuclear waste. At present, nuclear waste continues to be stored at local plant sites. The Department of Energy is over a decade behind schedule for accepting nuclear waste from utilities, but has made progress toward characterization of the Yucca Mountain, Nevada site. Construction of an exploratory studies facility has been completed, a viability assessment was published, and recently scientists placed their extensive research about Yucca Mountain on the record for public scrutiny. However, key regulatory standards to protect public health and the environment at the repository have not been issued.
''The Administration will continue to study the science to determine whether to proceed with the consideration of this site as the location for the repository. If the Administration decides to proceed, the Department of Energy must file a license application with the NRC. No waste will be sent to any location until the NRC determines it to be safe.
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''Other countries have developed different approaches for nuclear waste disposal. For example, the French, British and Japanese rely on reprocessing, an industrial approach that separates nuclear waste into usable fuel and highly concentrated waste. While this approach does not obviate the need for geologic disposal of nuclear waste, it could significantly optimize the use of a geologic repository. There is growing interest in new technology known as accelerator transmutation, which could be used in combination with reprocessing to reduce the quantity and toxicity of nuclear waste.''
H.R. 1679, the Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001introduced by Representative Graham on May 2, 2001 and co-sponsored by Representatives Stenholm, Burr, Hastings of Washington, Wamp, Simpson, Norwood and Wilsonis a companion to Senator Domenici's comprehensive bill, S. 472, introduced on March 7, 2001. The bill includes a number of R&D provisions that are under the Science Committee's jurisdiction. (See Appendix 2: Additional Material for the record for the text of H.R. 1679 and a section-by-section analysis.)
Representative Biggert is expected to introduce a bill this week to support a program to maintain the Nation's human resource investment and infrastructure in nuclear sciences and engineering. It is a companion to S. 242, the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act, introduced by Senators Bingaman, Domenici and Crapo on February 1, 2001. (See Appendix 2: Additional Material for the Record for a copy of the discussion draft bill and a section-by-section analysis.)
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What have been the successes and failures of DOE's Hydrogen Research and Nuclear Energy R&D Programs?
What are the pros and cons of the proposed legislation?
The President's National Energy Policy recommended that the President direct the Secretary of Energy: (1) to conduct a review of current funding and historic performance of energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative energy R&D programs; and (2) based on this review, to propose appropriate funding of those R&D programs that are performance-based and are modeled as public-private partnerships. Why were DOE's Nuclear Energy R&D programs exempted?
Skeptics of increased reliance on nuclear energy cite cost, safety, waste disposal, and proliferation issues as major barriers. Does the proposed nuclear energy R&D legislation adequately address these concerns?
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Chairman BARTLETT. Let me call our Subcommittee hearing to order. Today we will continue our consideration of the President's National Energy Policy. The purpose of this hearing is to receive testimony regarding legislation to reauthorize the Spark M. Matsunaga Hydrogen Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1990 and Hydrogen Future Act of 1996, as well as nuclear energy R&D provisions contained in H.R. 1679. And I would like to note the presence of Congressman Bob Walker, who was responsible for the Hydrogen Future Act of 1996. Welcome, Bob. As well as nuclear energy R&D provisions contained in H.R. 1679, the Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001 introduced by Representative Lindsey Graham, and H.R. 2126, the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act introduced by Representative Judy Biggert, who serves with me on this Subcommittee.
We in Congress have the imperative to develop a national energy strategy to protect our national security and economic prosperity. That is why I welcome and applaud President Bush for making energy policy one of the Administration's top priorities. The President's commitment and leadership and Vice President Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group report serves as the foundation for action that Congress will take to develop a national energy strategy.
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During this hearing, we will receive testimony from witnesses on two panels. The first panel will address hydrogen. Apart from its obvious virtue as a clean fuel, hydrogen is an energy storage medium which is transportable. Hydrogen can be piped long distances from remote points of generation, such as from wind farms or from hydrogeneration sites. The hydrogen R&D authorization will expire at the end of this fiscal year. The Committee has circulated a discussion draft bill that Mr. Calvert will introduce later today. It is also my understanding that Senator Harkin will introduce a hydrogen R&D reauthorization bill in the Senate today.
Panel witnesses include the Honorable David Garman, newly confirmed Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; Dr. H.M. Hubbard, Chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Programmatic Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Power Technologies; Mr. Arthur Katsaros, Group Vice President, Engineered Systems and Development, Air Products and Chemicals, Incorporated, on behalf of the National Hydrogen association; Mr. David Haberman, Chairman of DCH Technology, Incorporated; and Dr. Peter Lehman, Director of the Schatz Energy Research Center, Humboldt State University.
Our second panel today will give testimony on nuclear energy R&D legislation, and we will hear first from our distinguished colleagues, Representatives Graham and Biggert, followed by Mr. William Magwood, IV, Director, Office of Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology, U.S. Department of Energy; Mr. Joe Colvin, President, Nuclear Energy Institute; Mr. John Kotek, Manager, Special Projects Section, Argonne National Laboratory-West, Idaho, on behalf of the American Nuclear Society as Co-chair of the Public Policy Committee; and Ms. Anna Aurilio, Legislative Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
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Nuclear energy powers one out of every five homes nationwide, and nearly every other home in the northeast. This is a testament to the success of nuclear power as a safe, reliable source of electric power in the United States. The truth is that our country could not and should not do without nuclear power now or in the foreseeable future. Nuclear power has been unfairly and undeservedly demonized in this country by misinformation and Hollywood dramatizations after the Three Mile Island incident and the disastrous Chernobyl accident.
In our great Nation, nuclear power has an unmatched safety record. There has never been an injury or a fatality from nuclear power electrical generation, not one. Nuclear power has quietly succeeded precisely because it is a safe, clean, and reliable source of electricity. For this reason, I support increasing our use of nuclear energy as a safe domestic source of a balanced energy supply that also contributes to environmental protection.
I am confident that with a vigorous debate about all of the relevant facts, the public and Congress will embrace nuclear power as an important component of a comprehensive national energy strategy. I look forward to hearing today's testimony and developing legislation to promote R&D for both hydrogen and nuclear energy. Before we get started, however, I would like to remind the members of the Subcommittee and our witnesses that this hearing is being broadcast live on the internet, so please keep that in mind during today's proceedings. I would also like to ask for unanimous consent that all members who wish may have their opening statements entered into the record. Without objection, so ordered.
I now turn to my distinguished Ranking Member, Ms. Woolsey, for her opening remarks.
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[The prepared statement of Chairman Bartlett follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN ROSCOE BARTLETT
We will now convene the hearing. The hearing will come to order.
Today will continue our consideration of the President's National Energy Policy. The purpose of this hearing is to receive testimony regarding legislation to reauthorize the Spark A. Matsunaga Hydrogen Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1990 and Hydrogen Future Act of 1996, as well as nuclear energy R&D provisions contained in H.R. 1679, the Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001 introduced by Representative Lindsey Graham and H.R. 2126, the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act introduced by Representative Judy Biggert who serves with me on this Subcommittee.
We in Congress have the imperative to develop a national energy strategy. to protect our national security and economic prosperity. That's why I welcome and applaud President Bush for making energy policy one of the Administration's top priorities. The President's commitment and leadership and Vice President Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group report serves as the foundation for action that Congress will take to develop a national energy strategy.
During this hearing we will receive testimony from witnesses on two panels.
Page 280 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 The first panel will address hydrogen. Apart from its obvious virtue as a clean fuel, hydrogen is an energy storage medium; which is transportable. Hydrogen can be piped long distances from remote points of generation, such as from wind farms or from hydro-generation sites.
The Hydrogen R&D authorization will expire at the end of this fiscal year. The Committee has circulated a discussion draft bill that Mr. Calvert will introduce it later today. It is also my understanding that Senator Harkin will introduce a Hydrogen R&D reauthorization bill in the Senate today.
Panel witnesses include:
The Honorable David K. Garman, newly confirmed Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy;
Dr. H.M. Hubbard, Chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Programmatic Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Power Technologies;
Mr. Arthur T. Katsaros, Group Vice PresidentEngineered Systems and Development, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. on behalf of the National Hydrogen Association;
Mr. David Haberman, Chairman of DCH Technology, Inc.; and
Dr. Peter Lehman, Director of the Schatz Energy Research Center, Humboldt State University.
Page 281 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Our second panel today will give testimony on nuclear energy R&D legislation and we will hear first from my distinguished colleagues, Representatives Graham and Biggert, followed by.
Mr. William D. Magwood, IV, Director, Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, U.S. Department of Energy;
Mr. Joe Colvin, President, Nuclear Energy Institute;
Mr. John Kotek, Manager, Special Projects Section, Argonne National Laboratory-West, Idaho, on behalf of the American Nuclear Society as Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee; and
Ms. Anna Aurilio, Legislative Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Nuclear energy powers one out of every five houses nationwide and nearly every other house in the Northeast. This is a testament to the success of nuclear power as a safe, reliable source of electric power in the United States. The truth is that our country could not and should not do without nuclear power now or in the foreseeable future.
Nuclear power has been unfairly and undeservedly demonized in this country by misinformation and Hollywood dramatizations after the Three Mile Island incident and the disastrous Chernobyl accident. In our great Nation, nuclear power has an unmatched safety record. There has never been an injury or fatality from nuclear power electrical generation. Not one. Nuclear power has quietly succeeded precisely because it is a safe, clean and reliable source of electricity. For this reason, I support increasing our use of nuclear energy as a safe, domestic source of a balanced energy supply that also contributes to environmental protection.
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I am confident that with a vigorous debate about all of the relevant facts, the public and Congress will embrace nuclear power as an important component of a comprehensive national energy strategy.
I look forward to hearing today's testimony and developing legislation to promote R&D for both hydrogen and nuclear energy.
Before we get started, however, I would like to remind the Members of the Subcommittee and our witnesses that this hearing is being broadcast live on the Internet so please keep that in mind during today's proceedings.
I would also like to ask for unanimous consent that all Members who wish may have their opening statements entered into the record. Without objection, so ordered.
[The prepared statement of Representative Jerry F. Costello follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE JERRY F. COSTELLO
I'd like to thank the Chairman for calling today's hearing and welcome our witnesses.
It is important that alternative forms of energy including hydrogen and nuclear energy are included in any energy plan that Congress passes. Nuclear Energy alone accounts for 20 percent of all U.S. electricity generation. I support the President's plan to ensure both of these sources play an increasingly important role in the future. Together with new coal technologies and increased use of renewables we will be able to fight the high cost of electricity and ensures less dependence on foreign oil.
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I believe it is also imperative that we continue to learn more about the benefits of nuclear energy. That is why I have joined my colleague on the Committee, Judy Biggert, in cosponsoring the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.
[The prepared statement of Representative Ken Calvert follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE KEN CALVERT
I strongly support continued hydrogen research and development. For that reason, I plan to introduce a bill today to reauthorize the Hydrogen Future Act of 1996. While serving as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Committee on Science I began consideration of this reauthorization, which has come to fruition today.
The President's National Energy Policy calls for a balanced energy supply portfolioI completely support the President's recommendations. America's unprecedented economic growth and prosperity rests on an affordable supply of energy. And, we can all agree that reducing emissions and conserving resources is a good idea. For this reason, I continue to advocate the pursuit of greater efficiencies and reduced energy consumption in our industrial processes, in our transportation sector and in our communities and homes. The national energy strategy that will emerge from Congress will include all our energy options and hydrogen will have a place in that strategy.
Page 284 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 I first became interested in the possibilities that hydrogen presents while at CECERT, our excellent engineering center at the University of California, Riverside. CECERT is responsible for a number of innovative programs to reduce energy demand and improve the environment. CECERT has successfully demonstrated a hydrogen vehicle, which has been well received. Additionally, Riverside County participates with a number of other partners in Sunlinea highly successful public bus fleet demonstration of hydrogen technology, which includes hydrogen infrastructure. Programs such as CECERT and Sunline show that hydrogen vehicles are not only possible but also practical. Programs such as these are critical to sustaining my district's growth while continually improving air quality.
For this reason, last year, while Chairman of the Science Committee's Energy and Environment Subcommittee, I considered sponsoring the reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act of 1995. I am proud to be introducing this legislation today and I understand that Senator Harkin will also be introducing similar legislation in the Senate today.
The bill will reauthorize appropriations for hydrogen R&D at the Department of Energy totaling $250 million with an additional $150 million for demonstration projects. This is a substantial increase in authorized levels over previous years. The bill would also would sunset the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel and directs the Secretary of Energy to enter into appropriate arrangements with the National Academy of Sciences to establish a Hydrogen Advisory Board, thus giving Hydrogen R&D the kind of high-level, Federal and nationwide visibility it deserves.
My bill is named after two former colleagues. George E. Brown, Jr., who honorably served the district adjacent to mine for many yearshe was my mentor and good friend. I was proud to serve under Chairman Walker on the Science Committee and respect his leadership on this and many other issues. I am pleased to introduce this bill and I invite my colleagues to join me as cosponsors of this important, forward-looking R&D legislation.
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[The prepared statement of Representative Sheila Jackson Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE
Chairman Bartlett and Ranking Member Woolsey, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to review the President's proposal for Hydrogen and Nuclear Energy research and development (R&D).
This hearing will allow the Committee to receive testimony regarding legislation: (1) to reauthorize the Hydrogen Futures Act of 1996; and (2) on nuclear energy R&D provisions contained in H.R. 1679.
The President's National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) group recommends in their report that the Secretary of Energy should be directed to develop next-generation technologyincluding hydrogen.
Hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the Universe, it is the substance that powers our sun. Hydrogen is also the third most abundant element on the earth's surface, where it is found primarily in water (HO) and organic compounds.
Hydrogen is generally produced from hydrocarbons or water; and when burned as a fuel, or converted to electricity, it joins with oxygen to again form water. In addition to this source hydrogen can be produced from sources such as natural gas, coal, gasoline, methanol, or biomass through the application of heat; from bacteria or algae through photosythesis; or by using electricity or sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
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Hydrogen's potential use in fuel and energy applications includes powering vehicles, running turbines or fuel cells to produce electricity, and generating heat and electricity for buildings. The current focus is on hydrogen's use in fuel cells.
A fuel cell works like a battery but does not run down or need recharging. It will produce electricity and heat as long as fuel (hydrogen) is supplied. A fuel cell consists of two electrodesa negative electrode (or anode) and a positive electrode (or cathode)sandwiched around an electrolyte. Hydrogen is fed to the anode, and oxygen is fed to the cathode. Activated by a catalyst, hydrogen atoms separate into protons and electrons, which take different paths to the cathode. The electrons go through an external circuit, creating a flow of electricity. The protons migrate through the electrolyte to the cathode, where they reunite with oxygen and the electrons to produce water and heat. Fuel cells can be used to power vehicles or to provide electricity and heat to buildings.
The primary fuel cell technologies under development are: Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells, Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Direct-Methanol Fuel Cells, Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells, Alkaline Fuel Cells, and Regenerative or Reversible Fuel Cells.
The potential for this energy source is being explored by the Department of Energy (DOE), however, the method of investigation of hydrogen's potential is being effected by the disjointed unassociated efforts presently occurring at DOE.
Electricity has been generated by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) since before the turn of the century. For three decades, however, a non-fossil fuel, uranium, also has been used to produce electricity. The first nuclear power plant went into commercial operation in 1957, in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. Since then, the use of nuclear-generated electricity has grown substantially in the United States.
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The most promising and commercially exciting opportunity for hydrogen power are fuel cells that can power automobiles. The largest barrier to the application of this technology on a broad commercial basis is the high costs associated with fuel cells. It currently cost $2,000 to $3,000 to produce a gasoline engine for a conventional passenger car, while the cost of fuel cell motorized transportation is about $35,000. It is estimated that ultimately the cost of fuel cells for automobiles could be reduced to $3,500.
Another problem associated with fuel cell use is the lack of infrastructure for the distribution of hydrogen, and little methanol or natural gas infrastructure for transportation, when compared to the abundant number of gasoline stations. In 1998, there were only 91 methanol refueling sites in the United States and only 1,754 natural gas sites.
Another factor that must be overcome in order to promote the broad use of fuel cells in automobiles are the vehicles weight. Fuel cells have been successfully demonstrated on buses, but the small size of cars verses the number of fuel cells required to power it is too heavy to incorporate into small cars.
Nuclear power use in the United States is responsible for about 22.5 percent of our electricity generation, while other developed countries generate thirty or more percent of their electricity using nuclear means.
Uranium occurs in nature in combination with small amounts of other elements. Economically recoverable uranium deposits have been discovered principally in the western United States, Australia, Canada, Africa, and South America. A ton of uranium ore mined in the United States yields about seven pounds of Uranium oxide (U308). Uranium ore must be chemically processed, enriched, and formed into pellets before it can be used as a fuel.
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Uranium fuel pellets are loaded into hollow tubes called fuel rods. Hundreds of fuel rods form fuel assemblies that, along with control rods, are placed into a nuclear reactor core and then submerged in water. Like fossil fuels, the resulting uranium fuel produces heat that turns water into steam. The steam turns blades in a turbine connected to an electrical generator. However, heat is produced differently in a nuclear reactor than in a fossil fuel power plant.
The nucleus of an atom consists of combinations of protons and neutronseach of about equal weight. Energy in a nuclear reactor is derived from a process called nuclear fission in which a neutron strikes the nucleus of a uranium atom and is absorbed. The absorption of the neutron makes the nucleus unstable, causing it to split into two atoms of lighter elements and release heat and new neutrons. The heat is used to produce electricity while the neutrons potentially can be absorbed by other atoms of uranium, resulting in more nuclear fissions. This continuing process of fissioning is called a chain reaction. It is sustained because, for every atom of uranium fissioned by a neutron, new neutrons are released to continue the process.
In 1996, nuclear power plants increased throughout the world with 32 countries now using nuclear power to produce electricity. Worldwide, this amounts to 23 percent of the total electric generation in those countries and 17 percent of worldwide electricity generation. Commercial uses of nuclear fuel also became available for the first time from dismantled Russian warheads in 1996.
The U.S. connected its last domestic commercial plant, the Watts Bar 1 Plant, in 1996, and five other new nuclear reactors were added worldwide to electric grids bringing the number of commercial nuclear units to 442. Nineteen ninety-six also saw 45 nuclear units already under construction (South Korea and Russia are building seven plants each), and an additional 27 units are in the planning stages throughout the world. China and Japan are scheduling the majority of units to be completed sometime between 20022010. Nuclear power is expected to grow annually at 3.4 percent through 2015 in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, accounting for more than 70 percent of projected new worldwide nuclear power. The Energy Information Administration expects nuclear power to increase worldwide until 2010 and then to fall in 2015 as some U.S. units may close at the end of their current operating license periods.
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Uncertainty regarding nuclear power's continued or increased role for electricity generation is due to levels of economic competitiveness, social acceptance, and complicated nuclear waste disposal issues; but nuclear power is still a practical consideration for those countries with insufficient alternative power sources and a need for energy independence.
According to the Rocky Mountain Institute's 1990 study conducted by five national laboratories that increasing R&D budgets by just the cost of building one nuclear power plant ($3 billion spread over 20 years) could, by the year 2030, enable renewable energy to provide a half to two-thirds of the total energy then used in the United States.
Nuclear power, in contrast, cannot compete with either efficiency or renewables. It has cost the United States about $200 billion in public and private investmentbut one government estimate over $1 trillion, including all taxpayer-provided R&D used in the civilian program since the 1940s.
Because devices now on the market can save four times as much electricity as all U.S. nuclear plants make, at just 5 percent of the cost of building and running them, it's cheaper to write off any nuclear plant and provide customers with efficiency. The city of Sacramento, California has done just that. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District closed its Rancho Seco nuclear plant, and is recreating itself as a utility based on photovoltaics and energy efficiency. The result: more jobs, less pollution, stable electric prices, and a more sustainable and prosperous community.
Page 290 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 The largest problems regarding nuclear are exemplified by public concerns regarding safety in light of the past history of nuclear power plants such as Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl. Another pressing problem associated with nuclear power is storage of nuclear waste. There is yet to be an established repository that would allow for the storage of spent nuclear fuel. The other obstacle is the safe transportation of fuel to any storage sight that might be approved for such purposes.
I would like to thank the members of the panels providing testimony before our Subcommittee today. Their expertise and experience will be invaluable to our efforts to formulate a balance and environmentally sound national energy policy. Thank you.
Chairman BARTLETT. I now turn to the distinguished Ranking Minority Member, Ms. Woolsey, for her opening remarks.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing today on the Hydrogen Future Act and reauthorization and the two bills on nuclear energy. Our late former Chairman and Ranking Member George Brown saw the benefits of learning all we can learn about hydrogen. He believed, as I do, that we cannot overlook the characteristics of hydrogen that make it an important fuel source for the future. Where else can we find a fuel whose only product of combustion is water?
I am pleased to support this legislation, legislation that I hope will make the potential benefits of hydrogen closer to become a reality. I look forward to the testimony from our first panel, whom I hope will share how close we are to the future we want regarding hydrogen.
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Our second panel, focusing on nuclear energy, will comment, of course, on two bills designed to improve our Nation's nuclear energy infrastructure. From the start, for the record, I must disclose that I do not support nuclear energy, but not because of its power source; rather because there are some serious problems with nuclear energy that we have yet to find solutions for. Namely, it is radioactive waste and its risk to our environment and to the people who work with it. That is why I am disappointed with the President's National Energy Policy that so strongly supports the expansion of nuclear energy. In light of these lingering challenges, I believe we would be wise to address the problems associated with our current nuclear infrastructure before marching toward expansion in the name of short-term energy generation. However, I do look forward to hearing from our panel and hearing their perspectives on this issue.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Ms. Woolsey and I have agreed that we will be agreeable in our disagreement about the future of nuclear. And my hope is that she, like many in America, will be convinced by this hearing and other hearings that we will hold that nuclear does, indeed, have a future in our country.
Without objection, the full written testimony of all the witnesses will be entered into the record, however, I would ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes so that we will have plenty of time for questions. Let me assure you that anything that you want to expand on, you will have opportunity to do that during the question and answer period.
So without any further delay, Mr. Garman, welcome to your new position and welcome to our Committee. You may begin.
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STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DAVID K. GARMAN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Mr. GARMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. Before I begin, I know that every committee has a stable of coffee cups in the back room and I would like to, on behalf of the program staff, the National Renewable Energy Lab, provide the Committee with a hydrogen coffee cup to join the stable. Our thanks to Cathy Podro, the Technical Manager out at NREL, for that.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am pleased to present the Administration's views on the pending discussion draft of the Robert S. Walker and George E. Brown, Jr. Hydrogen Future Act of 2001. The Administration supports the reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act. Although we feel it's specified authorization level should comport with the President's funding request, we are currently engaged in a strategic review of the Hydrogen program along with all of our programs. This review will inform our discussions with you about the optimum authorization level as the bill moves forward and will form the basis of our recommended funding levels in the future.
It is notable that the National Energy Policy report developed by the Vice President's National Energy Policy Development Group specifically highlights hydrogen as an important next generation technology and recommends that R&D efforts be focused on integrating current programs regarding hydrogen, fuel cells, and distributed energy.
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Hydrogen represents an important potential long-term alternative to the existing energy system. Hydrogen is capable of serving as a universal energy carrier that can satisfy every conceivable need for electric, mechanical, and thermal energy. Hydrogen can be derived from plentiful domestic resources, even water. It is clean and compatible with existing energy conversion technologies such as fuel cells, engines, and combustion turbines. The current discussion draft of the Hydrogen Future Act provides a strong framework for public-private partnering to improve our ability to cost effectively produce, store, and transport hydrogen. The Administration intends to provide the necessary leadership in this area.
The discussion draft of the Act also promotes looking at hydrogen energy from a systems perspective to ensure that the technical, economic, environmental, safety, and infrastructure aspects are fully considered. The Administration strongly supports such a systems approach. The Act provides a framework for continued coordination of efforts within DOE as well as in other State, Federal, and Local Government agencies. The Administration believes a coordinated inter-agency effort will strengthen our ability to move toward commercial use of hydrogen and the Department of Energy will work to make that happen.
The next decade presents a window of opportunity, an important window of opportunity, for positively affecting the pace of the transition to a hydrogen energy future. The aging electricity and natural gas infrastructures, for example, are already responsible for power supply constraints and natural gas price spikes. These infrastructures will require a large infusion of capital if the lights are to be kept on. These investments could be targeted toward distributed energy solutions which have the dual advantage of addressing today's problems while laying the groundwork for the infrastructure of the hydrogen future. It makes sense to pursue a coordinated technology development and implementation effort to support the small but growing distributed energy enterprise and invest in advanced hydrogen production and storage concepts. The end result will be new energy resources for America today as we build a bridge to a new energy future.
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Thank you for providing me the opportunity to testify and I will answer at the appropriate time any questions the Committee has. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Garman follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DAVID K. GARMAN
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am pleased to present the Administration's views on the pending discussion draft of the ''Robert S. Walker and George E. Brown, Jr., Hydrogen Future Act of 2001.''
The Administration supports the reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act. We believe, however, that its authorization levels should comport with the President's funding requests. We are engaged in a strategic review of all Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs as recommended by the National Energy Policy report. This review will form the basis of our recommended funding levels in the future. The National Energy Policy report developed by the Vice President's National Energy Policy Development Group specifically highlights hydrogen as an important, next-generation technology, and recommends that R&D efforts be focused on integrating current programs regarding hydrogen, fuel cells, and distributed energy.
Hydrogen represents a potential long-term alternative to the existing energy system. Hydrogen is capable of serving as a ''universal'' energy carrier that can satisfy every conceivable need for electric, mechanical, and thermal energy. Hydrogen can be derived from plentiful domestic resourceseven water. It is clean and compatible with existing energy conversion technologies such as fuel cells, engines, and combustion turbines.
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Given our dependence on oil imports, our aging electricity and natural gas infrastructure, and volatile energy prices, we have an important opportunity to explore alternative energy system; that will promote economic prosperity and a healthier environment. Investing in viable, economic energy alternatives provides a hedge against an uncertain energy future. Hydrogen could be such an alternative energy system.
As I see it, the primary advantages of hydrogen use are:
economically competitive methods of hydrolysis could make hydrogen a renewable and limitless resource; and
the by-products are completely safe for human health and the environment.
Hydrogen may enable much greater use of distributed energy systems, the small-scale, modular energy devices that can be located on-site or near the point of use. Currently, these systems include technologies such as fuel cells, microturbines, Stirling engines, photovoltaics, and energy storage devices such as batteries and flywheels.
Distributed energy systems are being implemented across America in commercial development enterprises such as power parks and mini-grids. These are examples of multi-use facilities that use on-site power generation systems for meeting the total energy needs of local energy users including offices, factories, and residential communities for power, heating, cooling, and humidity control. In these and other applications, distributed energy systems provide users with on-site access, pinpoint control, and the opportunity to have power available every minute of every day. This level of reliability is in demand from the high tech sector and other energy users. Reducing the barriers to distributed energy systems can help lay the foundation for hydrogen in the future.
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Let me expand on one example of a hydrogen fuel technology, fuel cellsone of the more promising distributed energy devices, for both stationary and mobile applications. Fuel cells run exclusively on hydrogen. Reformers are used today to extract the hydrogen from fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. In the future, sources for hydrogen will include renewable biomass, and water. The electricity needed to electrolyze water can come from renewable sources such as wind and photovoltaics. The ongoing development of the infrastructure to support distributed energy systems in the economy today, in which the U.S. Department of Energy is already playing a key role, is a critical step in the process of building a strong hydrogen future.
An appropriate, strategic approach is to use public-private partnerships to:
support the elements of hydrogen that exist and are economical today;
test the various elements of the future system that will eventually be needed; and to
nurture promising energy pathways in preparation for an eventual transition to a new and improved energy infrastructure.
The current discussion draft of the Hydrogen Future Act provides a strong framework for public-private partnering to improve our ability to cost-effectively produce, store and transport hydrogen. This Administration intends to provide the necessary leadership. The discussion draft of the Act also promotes looking at hydrogen energy from a systems perspective to ensure that technical, economic, environmental, safety and infrastructure aspects are fully considered. The Administration strongly supports such a systems approach.
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The Act provides a framework for continued coordination of efforts within DOE as well as other Federal, State and local government agencies. The Administration believes a coordinated interagency effort will strengthen our ability to move toward commercial use of hydrogen and the Department of Energy will work to make it happen. The statute has been helpful in achieving our progress to date and, therefore, the Administration recommends its reauthorization.
The Department also plans to continue a strong core research and development element designed to provide the enabling technologies needed for hydrogen energy systems. The core program is balanced between nearer-term development efforts and longer-term research efforts. The longer-term projects are focused on the use of renewable energy sources to produce hydrogen, principally from water, while the nearer-term projects, supported by significant industry cost-share, are focused on efficient and cost-effective processes that will produce, store, and deliver hydrogen for use in the transportation and power sector. In the nearer term, the hydrogen needed to begin establishing an infrastructure will come mainly from fossil fuel sources.
A critical aspect of DOE's Hydrogen program is the Department's ability to introduce integrated hydrogen energy systems in order to validate their cost and performance. These technology validation projects are undertaken in partnership with private interests and regional governments. These validation projects are vital to reducing the technical risk, establishing customer and investor confidence, and meeting regional energy needs.
Collaborations with key states and industrial partners have greatly strengthened our program. For example, the State of Hawaii has proposed hydrogen infrastructure projects that include hydrogen production, storage, distribution and linkage to fuel cell generation. We are also working with Sunline Transit Authority in California to test a fleet of hydrogen buses. Further, Las Vegas has started a collaborative program to demonstrate hydrogen refueling for fuel cell powered vehicles.
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The next decade presents a window of opportunity for positively affecting the pace of the transition to a hydrogen energy future. The aging electricity infrastructure, for example, are already responsible for power supply constraints and natural gas price spikes. These infrastructures will require a large infusion of capital if the lights are to be kept on, factories working, and the Internet available. These investments could be targeted toward distributed energy solutions, which have the dual advantage of addressing today's problems while laying the groundwork for the infrastructure of a hydrogen future. Our preferred pathway involves a coordinated technology development and implementation effort to support the small but growing distributed energy enterprise, and invest in advanced hydrogen production and storage concepts. The end result will be new energy resources for America today, as we build a bridge to our energy future.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to testify before the Committee. I would be happy to respond to any questions the Committee may have.
BIOGRAPHY FOR DAVID K. GARMAN
Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy
Mr. David K. Garman was nominated by the President to serve as Assistant Secretary on April 30, 2001 and was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 25, 2001. He was sworn in and took office on May 31, 2001.
Page 299 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Assistant Secretary Garman previously served in a variety of positions on the staff of two U.S. Senators and two Senate Committees during a career spanning nearly 21 years. Most recently, Garman served as Chief of Staff to Alaska Senator Frank H. Murkowski. Mr. Garman also served on the professional staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. Garman holds a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University, and a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences from the Johns Hopkins University.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Dr. Hubbard.
STATEMENT OF H.M. HUBBARD, CHAIR, COMMITTEE ON PROGRAMMATIC REVIEW OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S OFFICE OF POWER TECHNOLOGIES, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Dr. HUBBARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to be here.
As you requested, I will report on the National Research Council's study carried out by the Study Committee on the Power Utilities Technology programs. That included about eight programs, one of which was hydrogen. As is always the case with the National Research Council, the usual procedures were followed; that is, we convened a panel of people with broad general background in energy and mixed perspectives, people who represent corporate America, people who represent NGO's, people who represent academia; not necessarily all specialists in hydrogen, of course, but broadly acquainted with energy technologies.
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And I have submitted my written testimony to the Committee. Also, I understand that the full report, which is rather thick and somewhat meager in supply will be supplied to the Committee and is available from the National Academy Press. I think thatI, by the way, am an independent semi-retired, and this morning pretty tired consultant, because I spent most of my times on airplanes on the runways of Chicago yesterday and got up at 4:30 this morning, so I don't know how coherent I am.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Dr. Hubbard, could you pull your microphone just a little bit closer? My ears are tired, I think.
Dr. HUBBARD. It happens that way sometimes. Hopefully, not in this hearing. There is good news and bad news with respect to the Hydrogen Program from the perspective of my committee. In the first place, we are, generally, as a group, and individuals, too, for that matter, strong advocates of a strong program. We feel that there are many good things that can be said about the program as it is today. The projects are pretty well executed, there is a program plan, there is a close working relationship between the program managers and HTAP. There is a close working relationship between the program managers, and NREL, and academia. We also feel, however, that the program is not particularly well coordinated, and it is somewhat different from the rest of the power technology programs in that hydrogen is not a fuel, it is an energy carrier analogous to electricity. It is not a generating technology, it is an enabling technology. And as the Electric Power Research Institute has said in testimony to us, hydrogen in the course of the next couple of decades or so will play a major role in new energy systems for the 21st century. Our committee agrees with that.
Page 301 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Let me quote a couple of recommendationsI will try to set this in contextthat are in the Executive Summary. One is the Office of Power Technology Programs should de-emphasize optimistic short-term development goals as the matrix for defining success. The objective should be the development of a strongthere is a typo there in the testimonystrong science and engineering base, decreasing in costs, improving technical performance, and the development of technologies that will meet the needs of the marketplace in the long run.
We have one particular strong recommendation, a key recommendation, that is also in the summary, specifically, with respect to hydrogen. And I will just read it, if I may. ''The Hydrogen Research Program should be reoriented with a longer term perspective and a stronger emphasis on the production of hydrogen from renewable resources. The coupling of electrolysis with renewable energy generation and distributed storage, OPT's programs should be coordinated with other elements in DOE.'' That is true to some degree, but not as much as we think it should. So it should be coordinated with other elements in DOE, such as the Office of Transportation Technology, the Office of Fossil Energy, and the Office of Science, all of whom are involved in hydrogen and hydrogen-related research.
We said that perhaps because DOE recognizes that the technologies and infrastructure for producing and using hydrogen on a large scale, large enough to make it a major factor in our energy systems are years away, the program, therefore, appears to have focus on transitional strategies for producing hydrogen from natural gas as a transportation fuel. As a result, the tension between the short-term and long-term objectives and the attendant competition for rather meager or limited resources is even greater in the Hydrogen Program than it is in other programs. Several of our presenters in discussions with the committee expressed that too much emphasis is being placed on near-term technical validationan odd term anyway, validationand the establishment of a distribution infrastructure. Not enough is being done on badly needed long-term exploratory and innovation R&D.
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We identified two major challenges that the program needs to address and overcome. The first is to develop better methods of producing hydrogen directly from sustainable energy sources, and the second is a challenge to develop better storage methods. Hydrogen has the advantage of being a stable storage media, but it has the disadvantage of having very little energy density. A major breakthrough in hydrogen storage would give a major impetus to hydrogen's utility as an energy cure.
Most of these things are being addressed one way or another in the current program, but we were unable to determine how OPT and the Hydrogen Program really sets its priorities, and there is a tendency, therefore, to do a little bit of everything, and I think that has been one of the problems in the program.
The recommendations, which are specific for hydrogen, I have in my written testimony, and I don't think I need to go into them here because I referred to them by implication, the fact that it needs reorientation or long-range vision. It needs to have a systematic way of setting priorities. It needs to better coordinate what goes on with EERE with the other elements of DOE.
I want to stress again that this is an important research area, but I think the problem right now is not so much to validate current technology, but to really look to the kind of technology and the kind of knowledge we are going to need in the future to make it a major player in our energy systems. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Hubbard follows:]
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. H.M. HUBBARD
Thank you for inviting me to testify at this important hearing on Hydrogen and Nuclear Energy R&D legislation.
As requested in your letter of invitation my testimony will report on the conclusions and recommendations pertinent to hydrogen research resulting from ''A Review of the U.S. Department of Energy Renewable Energy Programs carried out under the auspices of the National Research Council by the Study Committee on Programmatic Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Power Technologies on which I served as Chairperson. I will also include a few general comments designed to set that review in context.
The Nature and Process of the Study
The National Research Council (NRC) issued the result of a study by the NRC's Committee for the Programmatic Review of the Office of Power technologies (OPT) of OPT's research and development (R&D) programs in May, 1999. The study was carried out by a group of energy experts coming from different sectors of the energy research community designed to give the Committee a balanced perspective and the final report of the Committee was reviewed by a variety of reviewers according to the NRC's usual procedures. A list of Committee Members and the reviewers is appended to this testimony.
The study included a review of OPT's hydrogen R&D program and that is the focus of this testimony. It should be pointed out that the study, conducted over about a year starting in early 1999, was requested by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and therefore approached the subject from a renewable energy program perspective although the Committee recognized from the start that the hydrogen program has broader implications for energy systems generally.
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The potential role of hydrogen in 21st century systems came up in many of the presentations made to the Committee and in Committee discussions over the course of the year. The OPT hydrogen program was the featured topic and the Committee's meeting in Washington on May 10 & 11, 1999. A list of the program including topics presented to the Committee and the presenters is appended to this testimony.
NRC Report Executive Summary Conclusions and Recommendations
In the report's executive summary there are several overall program recommendations of particular relevance to hydrogen. It recommends that OPT carry out renewable energy technology projects that will lead to a sustainable cost-effect energy supply systems and that OPT programs should de-emphasize optimistic, short-term deployment goals as the metrics for defining success. The objectives should be ''the development of a should science and engineering base, decreases in cost, improvements in technical performance and the development of technologies that will meet the needs of the marketplace'' in the longer run.
[Note: text missing]. . .disadvantage of very low energy density.(see footnote 45) A major breakthrough in hydrogen storage technology would give a major impetus to hydrogen's utility as an energy carrier.
The ultimate goal is for hydrogen as an energy carrier to reduce the need to rely on fossil fuels in the energy systems powering our economy in this twenty first century. However, for the next quarter century (and probably longer, the recent experience in California not withstanding) natural gas will be available as the fuel of choice for most applications. Unless and until environmental concerns become a high priority, i.e., a critical for the public and policy makers, there will be no need for hydrogen as a bulk priority.
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However, in the longer run it is essential that hydrogen be available to take its place as the clean, safe, transportable, domestically produced energy carrier of choice.
The Committee's findings and recommendations for the OPT Hydrogen Program are listed below:
Finding: The DOE has a number of programs involving the use of hydrogen, which has created a confusion of effort and responsibility.
Recommendation. The Hydrogen Research Program should be re-oriented with a longer term perspective and broader participation by other elements of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) energy research establishment. The Office of Power Technologies (OPT) should concentrate on research aimed at the production of hydrogen from renewable resources and secondarily on hydrogen storage for distributed power generation. DOE should consider establishing a central point for the coordination of all research on ''hydrogen systems,'' including OPT's hydrogen research and related activities in the DOE's Offices of Transportation Technologies, Fossil Energy, and Science.
Finding. The Hydrogen Research Program does not seem to have a clear methodology for selecting projects.
Recommendation. The Office of Power Technologies should establish a systematic method of setting priorities focused on how resources can best be used. Regular performance-based reviews of projects would improve the efficiency of the program substantially.
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Finding. The Committee agrees with HTAP's concern that ''too much emphasis is placed on relatively near-term 'technical validation' and the establishment of a distribution infrastructure at the expense of badly needed long-term exploratory and innovative R&D.''
Recommendation. The Office of Power Technologies should defer its plans for infrastructure development involving hydrogen fueling stations and fuel cells until a practical process for producing hydrogen from renewable resources is in view and a demand for hydrogen begins to emerge.
Finding. Some of the sources and methods for the production of hydrogen that OPT is investigating (i.e., hydrogen for fuel cells or transportation uses) seem better suited to other DOE R&D programs.
Recommendation. The Hydrogen Research Program should focus on the production of hydrogen from all renewable energy resources, including biological methods of production. If the source of hydrogen is natural gas, the program must make a convincing case that the program can produce a superior product for the market. Alternative technologies (including fuel cells) that use natural gas directly should only be used as a reference for setting the goals of the program and should not be the major focus of the program.
*NRC Report Renewable Power Pathway, pp. 4344, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., May, 2000.
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MEMBERS OF THE STUDY COMMITTEE
H.M. HUBBARD (CHAIR), Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (retired), Lee's Summit, Missouri
R. BRENT ALDERFER, consultant, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
DAN E. ARVIZU, CH1M Hill, Greenwood Village, Colorado
EVERETT H. BECKNER, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland (until December 2, 1999)
PETER BLAIR, Sigma Xi, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
CHARLES GOODMAN, Southern Company Generation, Birmingham, Alabama
NATHANAEL GREENE, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, New York
JEFFREY M. PETERSON, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany, New York
RICHARD E. SCHULER, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
T.W. FRASER RUSSELL, National Academy of Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, New Jersey
JEFFERSON W. TESTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
DAVID BODDE, University of Missouri, Kansas City
ELISABETH DRAKE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SETH DUNN, Worldwatch Institute
JOHN KASLOW, EPRI Consultants, Inc.
KARL RABAGO, Rocky Mountain Institute
MAXINE SAVITZ, AlliedSignal, Inc.
Page 308 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 RAYMOND VISKANTA, Purdue University
CARL WEINBERG, Weinberg Associates
While these individuals provided constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.
HYDROGEN PROGRAM REVIEW
COMMITTEE MEETING, MAY 11, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Summary of Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel report
John O'Sullivan, Electric Power Research Institute
John O'Sullivan, Electric Power Research Institute
Richard Rocheleau, University of Hawaii
Hydrogen Program R&D
Catherine Gregoire-Padre, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Sig Gronich, Hydrogen Research Program
BIOGRAPHY FOR H.M. (HUB) HUBBARD
Dr. Hubbard's particular interests are in the areas of research and development management; energy technologies; sustainable development: and public policy relating to science, engineering and technical systems.
His professional career of more than forty-five years as a researcher, engineer, research manager and senior executive includes a variety of assignments in the private, not-for-profit, government and academic sectors.
After receiving a Ph.D. in chemistry with a minor in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas, Dr. Hubbard joined Dupont's Atomic Energy Division. He was assigned first to Argonne National Laboratory where he worked on the experimental breeder reactor program and then to Savannah River Laboratory in Aiken, S.C., where he was primarily concerned with processing radioactive materials. Later he transferred to the Dupont Explosive Department's Experimental Station Laboratory in Wilmington, Delaware. From there he progressed through a series of exploratory research and technical management assignments related to the production of polymer intermediates, industrial chemicals and explosives. When he resigned to accept a position at MRI after eighteen years as a member of the Dupont research staff, Dr. Hubbard was a research manager at Dupont's Eastern Laboratory in Gibbstown, N.J.
In 1970 he accepted an offer from the Midwest Research Institute (MRI) to join them as Director of Physical Sciences. MRl is an independent not-for-profit contract research institute headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to a variety of industrial, local government and private sponsors, MRI's principal clients were the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy.
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Dr. Hubbard was appointed Executive Vice President of MRI in 1981 and then transferred to Colorado to become the Executive Director and CEO of the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) from 1982 to 1990. SERI was operated by Midwest Research Institute under contract with the Department of Energy. Located in Golden, Colorado, SERI is the primary federal laboratory for research and development in the area of renewable energy and related sciences and was redesignated in 1991 as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Dr. Hubbard retired from MRI as Executive Vice President of MRI and Director/CEO of SERI in 1990.
In 1991, after spending a year in Washington, D.C., as a visiting Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF), he was appointed Spark M. Matsunaga Distinguished Fellow in Energy and Environment at the University of Hawaii at Manna. In 1992 he was elected President and CEO of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR), a not-for-profit applied research and development center headquartered in Honolulu, while continuing to hold appointments at the University and as an Adjunct Research Associate of the East-West Center's Resources Program.
In 1995 Dr. Hubbard retired as President of PICHTR, and in 1996 returned to Colorado where he continued to be involved in energy and environmental issues. He is the founding President of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) and continues to serve on the CRES Board of Directors. He is often asked to provide assistance to non-profit public interest groups concerned with environmental and energy issues and sustainable development in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains region by appearing as an expert witness before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and the Colorado legislature. He has been a consultant to CH2MHILL, an environmental engineering firm headquartered in Denver and to PICHTR.
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Recently, he and his wife, Barbara moved back to her hometown in Kansas City, Missouri.
From 1991 through 1996 Dr. Hubbard was a member of the National Research Council's Board of Energy and Environmental Systems and its predecessor, the Energy Engineering Board. For the last four years he was Board Chairman. He served as a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Strategic Energy Research and Development (the Yergin task force) and in 199495. He has been a consultant to Argonne National Laboratory, the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Congressional Research service, and the Department of Energy. Dr. Hubbard has served on a variety of university and college committees and advisory boards as well as local government, community, and business advisory and study groups. He has published numerous papers and articles, is a regular participant in energy related national and international conferences and has often been called upon to testify before U.S. Congressional Committees and state legislative and regulatory bodies.
Dr. Hubbard has received numerous recognitions and honors including: Honorary Doctorate in Science, Regis University; the Abbott Award, the highest award of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES); the ASES Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Solar Energy Development; the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Man of the Year; the SERI Staff Award for outstanding leadership; the Francis Van Morris Award for Excellence in Contributing to MRI; and the Charles N. Kimball Award for Leadership in the Mid-Continent region. His professional affiliations include: The American Chemical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Sigma Xi, The New York Academy of Science, Phi Lambda Upsilon (Honorary Chemistry Society), Alpha Chi Sigma (Professional Chemistry Fraternity), The American Solar Energy Society, and The International Solar Energy Society.
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Dr. Hubbard's address is: 3938 S.W. Linden Court, Raintree Lake, Lee's Summit, MO 64082; Tel. 8165370548; Fax. 8165376994.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FOR H.M. HUBBARD
I have not been the recipient of any federal funds in the past two years other than a one-day consulting fee from LLNL for serving as a member of their energy/environment program review board.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Katsaros.
STATEMENT OF ARTHUR T. KATSAROS, GROUP VICE PRESIDENT, ENGINEERED SYSTEMS AND DEVELOPMENT, AIR PRODUCTS AND CHEMICALS, INC., LEHIGH VALLEY, PA, ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL HYDROGEN ASSOCIATION
Mr. KATSAROS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ms. Woolsey, and members of the Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to be testifying today. I work for Air Products and Chemicals. We are a Fortune 500 company with operations around the world. We are the largest producer of merchant hydrogen around the world. And in the past, we have served as the Chair of the National Hydrogen Association. This is a grouping ofexcuse meindustrial gas producers, auto manufacturers, energy companies, universities, and research institutions, and I am pleased to be appearing on behalf of both Air Products and the National Hydrogen Association.
Page 313 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 As the other speakers have said, and as Mr. Bartlett has pointed out, when hydrogen is used as a fuel, it has many virtues. It can yield more energy per pound than conventional fuels, which is why it is used to power space vehicles. It is pollution-free. It only produces water as a by-product. And it is one of the most abundantly available elements on earth. The reason it is not used more readily is cost and convenience, and I think that is a lot of what the Committee's attention has to be about today.
We believe technology advances, though, give us good reason to believe the obstacles to broader use of hydrogen can be overcome. NHA members wholeheartedly support reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act to help deal with those obstacles. We believe it is appropriate public policy for Government to be involved, and we think there are four ways in which Government can help, which I would like to just highlight in my remarks, summarizing my testimony right now.
First of all, is to help drive the development of standards, codes, and regulations to ensure safety and public confidence in the fuel, to provide funding for R&D and demonstration projects, to create tax incentives necessary for the production and use of hydrogen, and to use hydrogen technologies in Government installations. Briefly touching on each of those, in the area of safety, every day tens of millions of pounds of hydrogen are used and used safely in hundreds of industries across the country and around the world. Hydrogen can be handled safely when guidelines are observed. And there is lots of research going into ways of improving those guidelines, and I won't go into them here. They are mentioned in my testimony.
Air Products has been in the business of producing and distributing hydrogen for commercial and Government use for three decades. We produce, and transport, and store it in liquid form at cryogenic temperatures of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Our tanker trucks travel millions of miles over the highways safely every year without incident. Every space shuttle launch has been powered by our liquid hydrogen since the inception of the space shuttle program. We also distribute hydrogen safely as a compressed gas over the road and through hundreds of miles of pipelines.
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Through demonstration projects, we and others participating in demonstration projects for the use of hydrogen in fuel cells, for bus and fleet transportation vehicles in Chicago, Palm Springs, Detroit, Sacramento, Atlanta, Las Vegas. We have also participated this year in the demonstration of a stationary fuel cell generator that is used to power an air quality monitoring system at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. So Government sponsorship is important to make these and other demonstration projects a reality. These are some of the first steps, we believe, in building a hydrogen infrastructure.
The third area was tax credits. Tax credits can be used to help jumpstart the demand for hydrogen, and we think such credit should be matched to stimulate the supply of hydrogen. For example, a tax credit for planted equipment that generates and distributes hydrogen would help develop the infrastructure that is needed to supply fuel cell vehicles and stationary generators. Without such an infrastructure, the public, we think, will be slow to adapt to the new technologies.
And finally, Government use. The infrastructure could be further stimulated through Government use of fuel cell vehicles in fleets, such as Postal vehicles or military vehicles in domestic locations. It could also be used as a fuel for primary or back-up power for Federal office buildings.
So in summary, we are very pleased that the Committee shares our view. We are pleased to hear the Chair and the Ranking Member express positive views toward hydrogen. We think it does play an important part in our Nation's future energy requirements. It is our hope that Congress will take an important step in passing the Hydrogen Future Act, and we want the Committee to know that we in the industry are prepared to work very closely with Government to see to it that the proper regulations and safety standards are put in place to make this an acceptable fuel. Thank you.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Katsaros follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ARTHUR T. KATSAROS
Mr. Chairman, Ms. Woolsey, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning on a subject that may seem futuristic but is actually upon usthe utilization of hydrogen as a fuel source. No matter what one's perspective is on climate change and the role of fossil fuels in the current economy, there is a broad consensus that the United States and the world are moving toward a ''hydrogen economy'' in which fuel is abundant, efficient, renewable, and non-polluting. There is debate over how soon hydrogen will be widely available as a fuel source, but little debate over hydrogen's many virtues. I am pleased to address the viability of hydrogen as a fuel source today and in the years and decades ahead, and to address perfectly legitimate concerns about assuring its safe use. I ask that my full testimony be submitted for the record.
I am Arthur Katsaros, Group Vice President for Engineered Services and Development with Air Products and Chemicals, Inc, a Fortune 500 company based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and with operations throughout the world. Air Products is among the world's largest companies in the industrial gas business, and is the leading producer of third-party hydrogen worldwide. Air Products is a recent past chair of the National Hydrogen Association (NHA), whose members include industrial gas producers, automobile manufacturers, energy providers, chemical companies, universities, and research institutions. I am pleased to be appearing on behalf of both Air Products and the NHA.
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Support for Hydrogen Future Act
NHA members wholeheartedly support reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act. Indeed, given the focus on hydrogen in the National Energy Policy recently released by the White House, we hope that funding for hydrogen will be increased rather than held constant. The timing is right for the United States to be putting scarce research and development resources into hydrogen as a fuel source.
The public is clearly committed to environmental protection. Energy concerns have also come to the fore, both as a result of electricity disruptions in California and the higher fuel prices that we all are facing. Policy makers will find it impossible to discuss energy policy without having to also debate environmental impact. Embracing hydrogen certainly appears to be one answer to the tension between a clean environment and bountiful energyit provides a method for delivering energy to stationary as well as mobile sources without pollution (its by-product of combustion is water).
For reasons of environmental protection and sustainability, America needs to be on a path that relies increasingly less on carbon as a source of energywe have moved over the past 150 years from coal, to oil, to natural gas, and we believe eventually our economy will be based primarily on hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a Safe Fuel Source
Every day, millions of pounds of hydrogen are usedand used safelyin hundreds of industries across the country and around the world (50 million pounds daily in the U.S. alone). As the world's largest third-party hydrogen generator and supplier, Air Products has been addressing hydrogen safety, storage, transportation and other infrastructure concerns for decades. We put an extremely high value on safety at Air Products. The American Chemistry Council last year gave Air Products its highest award for safety. Our experience shows that hydrogen can be handled safely when guidelines for its safe storage, handling and use are observed.
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Hydrogen is a fuel, and as a fuel it has combustible properties. Hydrogen's combustion properties warrant the same caution any fuel should be given, and like all fuels there are safety measures unique to hydrogen (most people do not refill their own propane tanks, for example, yet propane is widely used at home). There is no scientific or practical barrier to the safe use of hydrogen as a fuel.
Safety technologies for hydrogen have progressed in several areas. Gas detection and measurement capability has advanced based in part on the extensive investment of the Department of Energy in the last few years. Several of these technologies are becoming available as commercial products. Hydrogen flame detection has progressed mainly from the commercialization of technology used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA today uses infrared and ultraviolet detection systems that can detect not only invisible flames produced by burning hydrogen, but also those hidden behind a screen of smoke. In addition, a series of hydrogen sensors has proven to be capable of detecting hydrogen leaks prior to ignition.
Air Products operates hundreds of miles of hydrogen pipelines in the U.S. In California alone, we produce approximately 300 million standard-cubic-feet-per-day of hydrogen, which is transported to petroleum refiners in the state to reduce the sulfur, olefins and aromatics content in transportation fuels. Safety is the paramount concern in the operation of our hydrogen pipelines. Our pipeline integrity management programwhich exceeds regulatory requirementsincludes risk assessment studies that typically result in the use of multiple safety technologies on our hydrogen pipelines, including heavier pipeline wall thickness, excess flow valves and isolation valves, along with intensive testing, inspection and maintenance procedures. We have been working closely with the U.S. DOT Office of Pipeline Safety on the development of regulations increasing safety practices on hydrogen and other flammable gas pipelines. The promulgation of these regulations will be critical to the development of a safe and reliable hydrogen pipeline infrastructure in the U.S.
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In addition to delivering hydrogen to customers through pipelines, Air Products also liquefies hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures (423F) and transports it by truck and barge. We drive 15,000-gallon hydrogen tanker trucks millions of miles per year on U.S. highways without incident. NASA, the largest consumer of liquid hydrogen in the world, has been buying hydrogen for the space program from Air Products for over 35 years under consecutive competitive contracts, totaling over 300 million pounds of liquid hydrogen. Every Space Shuttle flight has been powered by our liquid hydrogen.
Codes and Standards Translate into Public Trust
Hydrogen energy safety is based on three primary elements: regulatory requirements, capability of safety technology, and the systematic application of equipment and procedures to minimize risks. Industry currently implements many successful proprietary methodologies for safely handling large amounts of hydrogen. There are several codes and standards specifically for hydrogen fuel applications that are under development by international, U.S. and industry organizations (including ISO, DOE and NHA). There are also many efforts underway to standardize hydrogen system component manufacture for hydrogen safety in a variety of potential commercial hydrogen market applications.
Widespread hydrogen use will require that safety be intrinsic to all processes and systems. To develop a hydrogen infrastructure that has the public's confidence in its safety and convenience, an industry consensus on safety issues is required. This includes the development of compatible standards and formats (e.g., the same couplings for dispensing the same form of fuel). Product certification protocols are also required. The development of codes and standards for the safe use of hydrogen is an essential aspect of the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program.
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Utilizing industry expertise and coordinating with government and other official entities, this barrier to commercialization may be overcome, allowing siting of hydrogen components and systems on a worldwide basis. Indeed, the NHA works with leading code and standard-setting organizations around the world to develop and publish industry consensus standards that account for the outstanding safety record of hydrogen. The workshops, technical meetings, manuals, reports, and source books of the NHA characterize an industry that wants to leave no stone unturned in a commitment to safety and public trust. We will continue to work with policy makers on standards and codes that promote safety and encourage public confidence in the use of hydrogen in fuel cells and direct combustion.
Commercialization Is Coming, But It Requires Government Support
Our international competitorsoften with major help from their governmentsare pouring substantial resources into hydrogen research. We believe that hydrogen will be widely used commercially within a generationif not in the United States, then surely in Western Europe, where a consensus exists that climate change must be addressed. The Japanese have a $2.8 billion long-term hydrogen program called World Energy Network. Major automakers around the world are planning to sell fuel cell cars within the next five years. Clearly, the race for global dominance in hydrogen fuel technology has begun.
Through our involvement in multiple demonstration projects in North America and Europe, Air Products is very much engaged in the race to commercialize hydrogen technologies. Some examples of our involvement include the design and installation of fueling systems for a hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstration program for the Chicago Transit Authority; Ford Motor Company's fuel cell automobile development facility in Dearborn, Michigan; and a fleet of fuel cell service vehicles for the Palm Springs, California Airport. Air Products is leading the hydrogen fuel provider team for the California Fuel Cell Partnership. In the next three years, more than 70 fuel cell-powered cars and buses will be placed on the road from the Partnership's West Sacramento facility. We recently installed a gaseous hydrogen fueling station in Atlanta, Georgia for a hydrogen fuel bus project conducted by a consortium of companies led by the Southeastern Technology Center. Air Products has successfully tested the use of Hythanea blend of hydrogen and natural gas used as an ultra-clean fuelin projects in Denver, Colorado, and Erie, Pennsylvania. This year we participated in the demonstration of a stationary fuel cell generator that was used to power air quality monitoring equipment used by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. And Air Products is currently leading a team that will build and operate an on-site hydrogen production facility, fuel cell power plant, and a fueling station capable of dispensing hydrogen and hydrogen-blended fuels to fleets of buses and light duty vehicles in Las Vegas, Nevada. Almost all of these projects have one thing in common: the active support and partnership of government entities.
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The hydrogen industry recognizes that the markets will ultimately dictate the commercial success of hydrogen. However, we note that a White House that prides itself on its faith in the markets has, in its recent National Energy Policy, supported tax credits for fuel cell vehicles. We suggest that such credits, which would stimulate demand for hydrogen, need to be matched by credits to stimulate hydrogen supply if government is serious about supporting hydrogen utilization. For example, a tax credit for plant and equipment that generates and distributes hydrogen would help develop the infrastructure needed to supply fuel cell vehicles and stationary power generators. Without such an infrastructure, it is less likely that fuel cell manufacturers will have success in selling mass quantities of fuel cells that cannot easily be refilled.
Beyond tax credits, vibrant funding of the hydrogen program at DOEespecially research into improved hydrogen storagewill help lead the country toward widespread commercialization of hydrogen fuel. Utilization of hydrogen fuel on urban bus fleets and other government vehicles, perhaps combined with applications of fuel cell power plants at federal facilities, will demonstrate the role of hydrogen and, by increasing demand, help drive down costs.
The United States is poised to take a leadership role in the development and commercialization of the global hydrogen economy. Hydrogen's utilization promotes clean air and water, makes the United States more competitive internationally, and ultimately holds the promise of contributing to our energy self-sufficiency. But to realize these benefits, there is a legitimate role for government to play in several critical areas:
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Through R&D programs and demonstration projects supported by the DOE and other government agencies, new hydrogen technologies will be tested and prepared for commercial use;
By its own use of hydrogen technologies, government will play a key role in stimulating the development of a hydrogen infrastructure;
And by driving the development of standards and regulations, government will help with the issues of storage and safe handling of hydrogen required for public confidence.
We are pleased this Committee shares the view that hydrogen plays an integral role in energy planning for the future. It is our hope that Congress will take a vital step toward this future by its prompt consideration and passage of the Hydrogen Future Act. We look forward to working with this Committee, with Congress generally, and with an Administration that has identified the need for an increased role for hydrogen to satisfy our energy needs in the near future and beyond.
BIOGRAPHY FOR ARTHUR T. KATSAROS
Group Vice PresidentEngineered Systems and Development
Arthur T. Katsaros joined Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in 1973 as a senior process engineer in the Process Systems Group. In 1976 he transferred into the Chemicals Group where he held various marketing, product management, business development and business management assignments within the Industrial Chemicals Division. In 1986 he was named Director of corporate planning and in 1988 became General Manager of the newly formed Advanced Materials Division. The following year Katsaros was appointed to organize and manage the new electronics division and to integrate Air Products' activities in electronics markets on a worldwide basis. He was named a corporate Vice President in 1991 and subsequently was appointed General Manager of the U.S. merchant industrial gas business. He became Vice President of marketing for the Gases and Equipment Group (GEG) in 1994, group Vice President of engineered systems and operations for the Group in 1996, and assumed his current position in February 2001. In this role, Katsaros is responsible for the company's global engineering organization, worldwide research and development activities, corporate planning, energy and materials, GEG manufacturing and the sale of equipment business segment.
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Katsaros was born in 1947 in New York, N.Y. He received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1969 and an M.B.A. from Lehigh University in 1977. In November 1992 Katsaros completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business.
Katsaros is presently chairman of the board of the Semiconductor Industry Suppliers Association. He also serves on the boards of several local church and civic organizations, and is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bethlehem Musikfest Association.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Haberman.
STATEMENT OF DAVID P. HABERMAN, CHAIRMAN, DCH TECHNOLOGY, INC., VALENCIA, CA
Mr. HABERMAN. I promised myself I wasn't going to let that happen. Mr. Chairman, Ms. Woolsey, Mr. Calvert, it is a great pleasure to see you again. My name is Dave Haberman. I am the Chairman and cofounder of DCH Technology. That stands for Diversified Commercial Hydrogen. I build hardware, I build safety equipment, process monitoring equipment, and fuel cells. And today, this morning, I am here to try to communicate very quickly industrial perspective on the status of hydrogen in six basic areas.
In terms of industrial readiness, there is a large vibrant infrastructure in the U.S. which supports the chemical and coolant uses of hydrogen. Our evolving hydrogen industry is focused today on accelerating the economy of scale for building fuel cell power systems, on developing smaller fuel processors which are devices that can make hydrogen out of all kinds of gases, and in improving hydrogen energy storage efficiencies. Wall Street is buying into these areas of endeavor, the current combined market capitalization of companies with core hydrogen-related businesses is in the billions of dollars. Industry is working with a sense of urgency, driven by both the demands for near-term energy solutions and shareholder reward.
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Appropriate Government rolesin our perspective, clearly, the Government has an ability to tackle large scale technical risks outside of the harsh justification of market economics, and this is critical to technology advancement. Government has an ability to coordinate and harmonize the applicability of code and standards which is critical to hydrogen energy because we need insurance, we need permitting, we need zoning, we need warranties, we need an ability to export in accordance with clear rules. The industry needs to strengthen liaison with the EPA, OSHA, Department of Interior, Department of Transportation, NASA, NIST, as well as DOE.
Mr. Chairman, I believe DOE is in a good position to coordinate these sorts of liaisons through its program and through its support of creating critical uniform rule sets. We believe the Nation is best served if there is a clear separation between the efforts of the DOE National Laboratories and those of industry. Each should do what it does best. Project development, management, and most services are the realm of commerce and industry. This Act should focus on the growth and the preservation of national core competencies, which is completely with the purview of the national labs with their R&D based missions that yield innovations we can use.
Support for education, university level centers of excellence will give industry the trained workforce it needs. Another viable Government activity would be equipping Government cars and fleets with hydrogen power. This would provide our emerging industry with an economy of scale and would have immediate impact into what we are trying to do.
In regards to the economic pertinence of hydrogen energy, just the fuel cell business has been growing at over 20 percent since 1995, and by 2005, just the fuel cell business is projected to put $8 billion into the economy; $23 billion by the year 2010. These figures do not address the contribution from generation, from storage, from safety, from services. This is just the fuel cell business. So this is a highly impacting act.
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Thousands of people are already employed. I employ people in California, in Wisconsin, in Texaspeople are employed all over this country. It is not geologically uniqueor, I am sorrygeographically unique. Thousands of people are employed in hydrogen companies and, moreover, the bursting innovation manifest in hundreds of American patents is compelling evidence of the pertinence of hydrogen, both as a fuel and as an energy carrier. The resulting intellectual property also supports the needed valuation process in the equity markets. Many of these patents are derived from good works at the national labs that become licensed by companies like ourselves.
In regards to international competitiveness, American companies like DCH face foreign competitors that are financially supported by their governments. I face people that get money directly from the governments of Japan, Canada, and Germany. The battleground is not only in competition, it is also in R&D, and I truly believe that the funding for hydrogen has been dramatically insufficient, and I was very enthusiastic to see that this draft bill has a stronger scaled amount of increase for hydrogen. In regards to oversight, we agree that HTAP has constructively influenced the DOE Hydrogen Program and we support a disciplinary review.
In regards to impacts on taxpayers, 1,000,000 people today in the United States have invested their hard earned money in hydrogen businesses, in the hydrogen industry. We in the industry are committed to delivering the hardware and the fuel. This Act will extend the Government's hand to condition the infrastructure, build a useful workforce, and help us catch up on the international front.
In summary, this enabling legislation provides a foundation for America's Hydrogen Program. The pace of adoption is dependent in significant measure on the Government's focused investment in key areas. Taking technical risks that span the hydrogen energy chain, helping with regulatory issues and challenges, including, very specifically, codes and standards, and technical validation of hydrogen's operational benefits are key drivers to testing implementation realities and building mission confidence. Industry has benefited from innovations, extensions of the stakeholder base, and verification of the importance of hydrogen in the last five years. Now we are on the cusp together.
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Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Haberman follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DAVID P. HABERMAN
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. My name is David Haberman. I am the co-founder and chairman of a public company: DCH Technology, Inc. DCH stands for Diversified Commercial Hydrogen. DCH develops and manufactures safety equipment for industrial uses of hydrogen. Our Enable subsidiary produces fuel cell power systems and the DCH Center for Hydrogen Safety (CHS) provides related consulting and training services.
As an American delegate to the International Standards Organization (ISO) for hydrogen safety I review and analyze the evolving codes and standards for hydrogen systems on a global basis. As a businessman, I consult with and provide equipment for the hydrogen energy programs of Israel, Iceland and China. In Israel, I created a company called Hydrogen Light to bring secure hydrogen energy opportunities to an insecure region, thereby increasing the prospects for peace. In Iceland, I teamed with Shell and Icelandic New Energy to expand markets for hydrogen fuel cells in an effort recognized by Time Magazine. I am also a co-founder of the California Hydrogen Business Council (CHBC) and the lone equipment manufacturing member of the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel (HTAP). My first work with hydrogen was in the defense industry fifteen years ago.
Page 327 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 This morning, I hope to clearly communicate an industrial perspective on the status of hydrogen. I will address industrial readiness, industry's view of appropriate government roles, the economic pertinence of hydrogen energy, international competitiveness, oversight of the National Hydrogen Program and impacts on taxpayers. My international experience and HTAP role, together with my position as chairman of a public company, inform my remarks.
1. Industrial Readiness: Hydrogen is an industrial chemical that is used in metal processing, petrochemical,' glass, food oils, semiconductor and electronics businesses. Hydrogen generation, safety, distribution and gas storage are proven large scale processes. There is a large infrastructure in the U.S. which supports chemical and coolant uses of hydrogen. Our evolving hydrogen industry is focused today on three areas: accelerating economy of sale for fuel cell power systems; developing smaller fuel processors (which make hydrogen from existing fuels); and improving hydrogen storage efficiencies.
Wall Street is buying into all three areas of endeavor: the current combined market capitalization of companies with core hydrogen-related businesses is in the billions of dollars, a handsome valuation for a growing industry. Industry is working with a sense of urgency, driven by both the demands for near-term energy solutions and shareholder reward.
It is important to observe that the pertinence of hydrogen energy and the progression of its associated development paths best begin at a modest power level (battery replacements, for example) that serves personal and portable uses for civilians and the military. Diesel generator replacements fall within this range. Larger scale applications such as cars, homes and power stations garner a lot of attention but are dependent on infrastructure changes. In contrast, more modest hydrogen applications such as emergency power and uninterruptible power are currently commercially viable. It is likewise important to note that industry is investing heavily right nowacross the spectrum of sizes and applications in all sectors of the economy. In short, hydrogen energy is arriving now.
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2. Appropriate Government Roles: Through its portfolio of activities, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program realizes several objectives useful to industry. In fact, the Hydrogen Program has served a vital public purpose in accelerating development and use of both transition technology that uses natural gas and renewable hydrogen systems, thereby balancing near term development needs with long-term research requirements. Clearly, government's ability to tackle technical risks outside the harsh justification of market economics is critical to technology advancement. The Government's ability to coordinate codes and standards development is also critical for hydrogen energy. The industry needs to liaison with EPA, OSHA, DOI, DOT, NASA and NIST as well as DOE. Mr. Chairman, DOE is in a good position to coordinate the hydrogen efforts of different agencies with different missions in pursuit of a common goal.
The President's National Energy Policy acknowledges the importance of hydrogen, describing it as the ''next generation of energy.'' The industry is pleased with the policy-level recognition that hydrogen will contribute to expansion of the energy supply as well as a cleaner environment. The government should be committed to developing national options to ensure energy security and a clean environment.
Industry licenses technology from DOE national labs. It pays royalties on these licenses, a return on the American public's investment. We encourage the continuing technology developments at the labs. We believe that the Nation is best served if there is a clear separation between the efforts of labs and those of industrythat each should do what it does best. Project development, management and most services are the realm of commerce and industry. The preservation of the national core competencies is completely within the purview of the national laboratories with their R&D based missions. Support for education and university level centers of excellence will give industry the trained workforce it needs.
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And last, but not least in terms of appropriate government roles, we are also keenly aware and respectful of the critical part played by Congress, as well as the states and some local governments in the creation and implementation of R&D and demonstration initiatives that condition the market and strengthen the foundation for the hydrogen infrastructure.
3. Economic Pertinence of Hydrogen Energy: Wall Street values the potential and inevitability of hydrogen. There are over twenty public companies whose businesses are aimed at promoting and directly advancing the technologies required to implement a hydrogen economy. In addition, automobile and oil companies have invested billions expressly to position their businesses for the new energy paradigm. The benefits of the burgeoning hydrogen economy cannot be ignored. On the contrary, they should be nurtured and encouraged while the industry is in its early stages.
Thousands of people are already employed in small and medium-size hydrogen companies. Moreover, the bursting innovation manifest in hundreds of patents is compelling evidence of the pertinence of hydrogen as a fuel and an energy carrier. Hydrogen is an energy storage medium that effectively allows controlled power availability to efficiently address the evolving demands of the electricity market. Enabling rapid market response to energy prices can empower consuming industries, communities and individuals in a positive way previously considered impossible. This crucial ability to respond to appropriate market signals relative to supply and demand will improve and extend the lifetime of capital assets and avoid large scale shocks to the economy. Finally, the National Energy Policy calls for nuclear energy use and the application of hydrogen technologies will improve the safety, versatility and economics of these systems.
Page 330 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 4. International Competitiveness: American technology and manufacturing must compete in a global marketplace. I have been involved in surveying the terrain for international hydrogen markets over the last seven years. I have established business relationships in fourteen nations. Many of you are familiar with our work in Iceland as the hydrogen safety and fuel cell partner. The fact is that American businesses face increasing competitive pressures in Asia and Europe due to trade barriers, regulatory regimes and the involvement of other governments in business. Specifically, American companies like DCH face foreign competitors that are financially supported by their governments. Today, the American industry must compete with Japan, Germany and Canada on a daily basis. And business is not the only battleground for competition: America is being challenged in the R&D arena by other nations whose budgets recognize the future value of present day investment in the hydrogen technology pipeline.
I would like to stress here that well orchestrated demonstrations help the American hydrogen industry to compete, both at home and abroad. The leverage of government (state as well as federal) involvement facilitates permitting processes, increases public exposure, enhances operating experience and encourages investment. Assistance in these areas contributes to market awareness and preference for hydrogen and hydrogen powered technologies like fuel cells.
5. Oversight of National Hydrogen Program: The original Hydrogen Future Act created the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel (HTAP). In its first few years, HTAP has met its milestones and achieved some major goals. Notable among them are development of the Green Report and the recent HTAP report to Congress which documented the national hydrogen baseline. This coming year HTAP has several deliverables including a national hydrogen safety summit. I believe, and I believe the industry agrees, that HTAP has constructively influenced the DOE Hydrogen Program. It also appears to industry that a continuing multidisciplinary review of the DOE Hydrogen Program is necessary and appropriate, and accountability should be a part of this process. Thus, I suggest that the Nation is well served by HTAP and the technical advisory function is essential. But HTAP has only been effective when it is convened which occurs biannually and should occur quarterly. And as we go forward, all the stakeholders, not just the scientists, must be involved. This definitely means the inclusion of more industry members, an established NASA hydrogen expert, and multidisciplinary experts from the National Academy of Science. The scrutiny which flows from the opportunity for public comment is an essential component of the oversight function.
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6. Impacts on Taxpayers: The taxpayers have invested in hydrogen energy for decades. The science and technology of hydrogen have advanced primarily through NASA and DOD applications. Only within the last decade have commercial visions of hydrogen energy and fuel cells become truly well defined. In the last five years, both the absolute amount and relative level of government and private sector investment have increased steadily. Industry has leveraged government investment, adding value that increases the taxpayers' yield. And industry understands that the taxpayers' return on their investment is an essential consideration. Hydrogen technology adds value to our varied energy sourcesfrom nuclear to fossil in the form of coal, oil and natural gas to renewables such as solar, wind, and biomassthe ultimate vision for the hydrogen economy.
Hydrogen offers benefits at the community and the national level. Uniquely, it also offers options for power solutions at the personal level. Beneficial individual and community impacts include life cycle economic savings, quality of life improvements, and value added to neighborhood microeconomics given the potential to generate and sell hydrogen or use electricity at the neighborhood level.
Industry believes that America needs to affirm its commitment to hydrogen by reauthorizing and amending the Spark M. Matsunaga Hydrogen Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1990. This enabling legislation provides a foundation for America's Hydrogen Program which must be clearly integrated into National Energy Plan. The legislation supports important interactions between business implementers and regulators, and between manufacturers and innovators (including government laboratories). Other important stakeholders include user groups, schools and the public. Government's very recognition of hydrogen provides encouragement and validation for industry's entrepreneurial efforts and its vision of a phased-in hydrogen economy. The pace of adoption is dependent in significant measure on the government's focused investment in key areas. These areas are: technical risks that span the hydrogen energy chain, regulatory issues and challenges; and assistance with the technical validation and demonstration of hydrogen's operational benefits.
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Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to answer any questions you might have. On behalf the industry and DCH, I thank you for this opportunity to testify.
www.eren.doe.gov/hydrogen/htap.html provides extensive information on HTAP
www.ch2bc.org provides current information from industry
www.dcht.com provides current information from DCH
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BIOGRAPHY FOR DAVID K. HABERMAN
David Haberman is the Chairman and Co-Founder of DCH Technology, Inc., DCH is a seven-year old public company (stock symbol AMEX:DCH). DCH specializes in hydrogen technology development, safety, process monitoring and several hydrogen fuel cell power system applications. Mr. Haberman is a past director of the National Hydrogen Association (NHA). He is a Co-Founder of the California Hydrogen Business Council. He is an American delegate and member of the International standards Organization (ISO) Working Group TC 197, Working Group #7 on hydrogen system safety.
Mr. Haberman was appointed by the Secretary of Energy (DOE) to represent the perspectives of commercial product developers and safety on the Hydrogen Technical Advisory Panel (HTAP). This panel, created by the Hydrogen Future Act, reports directly to the Secretary and contributes to his reports on the National Hydrogen Program to the U.S. Congress.
Mr. Haberman is a Wisconsin native, educated in electrical engineering and optics. He worked as both a systems and applications engineer in the aerospace and aviation sector from 1980 to 1994. His initial work in hydrogen was related to the generation of ultra-cold Hydrogen fuel for the space program. He is the primary author of the first study, which related flight safety of hydrogen-powered air/space craft to the concepts of free flight Navigation.
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Mr. Haberman's recent initiatives are the formation of the Maritime Hydrogen Technology Development Group, an International team to integrate and build commercial vessels that use hydrogen-energy systems on-board. This group is now demonstrating a hydrogen-powered water taxi around the world in coordination with the DOE, DOT and several state agencies
Mr. Haberman has given invited presentations on hydrogen technology, safety and the growth of a hydrogen energy infrastructure in 14 countries. He is actively involved in supporting the International Energy Agency's Hydrogen Implementation Agreement technical tasks being undertaken in Israel, Iceland and China. He is the Chairman of NeWave, a fuel cell joint venture with Daido Metal, Ltd. based in Nagoya, Japan. He is also Co-Founder and Director of H20rG Tel Aviv, Israel. H20r is developing hydrogen energy technology in Israel and conducting programs to bring clean energy to villages that are off grid.
He has defined and co-created several Cooperative Research & Development programs with the National Laboratories of the DOE in the areas of hydrogen sensors, fuel cells and hydrogen energy system integration. Mr. Haberman is a cited author or contributor of over 40 publications regarding hydrogen technology, business or policy.
DCH Technology, Inc., is headquartered in Valencia, California; 6617758120; www.dcht.com
Page 335 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Dr. Lehman.
STATEMENT OF PETER A. LEHMAN, DIRECTOR, SCHATZ ENERGY RESEARCH CENTER, HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY, ARCATA, CA
Dr. LEHMAN. Thank you, Chairman Bartlett, Subcommittee Members, ladies, and gentlemen, good morning. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to testify. I am the Director of the Schatz Energy Research Center in Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. I am also the Vice Chairman of the National Hydrogen Association.
Right off the bat, I would like to say I strongly support the reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act of 1996. The mission of the Schatz Energy Research Center is to promote the use of clean and renewable energy in our society. That is our mission because we think that is the best energy future for this Nation. Our work includes research and development in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. We are involved in this work because we feel hydrogen is a crucial link in a renewable energy future.
As you expressed, Chairman Bartlett, hydrogen has two important roles in the renewable energy future. It serves as an energy storage medium and it allows for transport of energy from one region of our country to another. And indeed, from one region of the world to another. We could become an energy exporter.
Renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power pictured here, are practical and economic. They provide long-term energy security without pollution or global warming. They also free us from dependence on foreign energy sources. They offer clean, inexhaustible energy at known costs, but they are intermittent. We need a cost-effective, reliable energy storage to provide electricity when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Excuse me. The buzzers that you hear are calling us to vote. We have probably eight or 10 minutes, so we can finish with your testimony and perhaps one question.
Dr. LEHMAN. Hydrogen fills that role, and here is how we think it will happen. This is the renewable hydrogen cycle. Renewable energy provides electricity to separate hydrogen from water by the process of electrolysis. The hydrogen then represents stored energy. It can be regenerated whenever we need it with a fuel cell or with a combustion engine generator. No resources are consumed and no pollution is produced.
We can also transport it. It can be transported as a compressed gas or as a cryogenic liquid in either trucks or tankers. It can flow in pipelines just like natural gas. In this way, we can get wind energy from North Dakota or solar energy from Arizona anywhere we want in the country, and as I said, indeed, throughout the world.
Does this technology work? Those of us at the Schatz Center can say, emphatically, yes, it does. Here is a picture of hydrogen fuel being generated by electrolysis using solar energy in Humboldt State University. This system has been running for over a decade. This is a hydrogen project in Southern California's Coachella Valley. This was funded, in part, by the DOE Hydrogen Program, and supported by the Hydrogen Future Act. We built a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles, a solar powered hydrogen generation system, and a hydrogen dispensing station, and these facilities are in daily use now by Sunline Transit Agency and by the City of Palm Desert in Southern California.
Page 337 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 This is another system. We collaborated with the National Park Service and the Yurok Tribe to develop this fuel cell and photovoltaic power system. It powers a radio telephone repeater. The system connects the remote Yurok Indian Reservation to the regional telecommunications network, and it provides internet access and phone service to a health clinic and to two schools. The fuel cell has been running for over 5,000 hours in a rugged mountaintop environment.
We have made considerable progress over the last decade in developing hydrogen technology. This is due in large part to the support and funding provided by the Hydrogen Future Act, but we are not there yet. As I explained in my written testimony in more detail, we still have to make hydrogen technology more cost effective and more durable. We need to develop codes and standards, an activity which is, in part, supported by the DOE Hydrogen Program and the by the National Hydrogen Association. We need to have an educational outreach effort to our citizens and our school children. I urge the Congress to support this important legislation that will lead to a secure and clean energy future.
Thank you very much. I will be happy to respond to questions.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Lehman follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PETER A. LEHMAN
I am pleased to have this opportunity to address the Subcommittee on the Hydrogen Future Act and the important issue of federal funding for hydrogen energy research. I am the Director of the Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. The mission of the Center is to promote the use of clean and renewable energy in society. Much of our work consists of research and development of hydrogen technology and its integration into complete, self-sufficient renewable energy systems.
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Our center focuses on renewable hydrogen energy technology because it is the best choice for our Nation's energy future. Renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, are practical, economic, and provide long-term domestic energy security without polluting or contributing to global warming. They also free us from dependence on foreign energy resources.
Renewables are clean, free, inexhaustible, and offer us energy at a known cost, but renewable resources are intermittent. We need cost-effective, reliable energy storage to provide electricity when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining.
SERC's and many others' approach to this problem is to use hydrogen as an energy storage medium. Solar or wind electricity can readily be used to generate hydrogen from water using an electrolyzer. The stored hydrogen can be converted back to electricity efficiently and cleanly with a fuel cell; the only byproduct is pure water. The entire cycle is sustainable and non-polluting. Electricity is available at all times and no resources are consumed. Several well known technologies are available for storing hydrogen, including pressurization, cryogenic liquefaction, and metal hydrides.
Not only is hydrogen easily stored, it is also easily transported. Like today's fossil fuels, it can be readily moved from place to place using pipelines, rail, trucks, and oceangoing tankers. This means that wind energy from North Dakota or solar energy from Arizona can be used throughout the country. Hydrogen's storability and mobility (not to mention its universal abundance) make it the ideal energy carrier for the post-fossil fuel era.
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Hydrogen is also an extremely versatile fuel. In addition to powering fuel cells, it can be burned in boilers or in internal combustion engines. In all these applications, hydrogen is exceptionally clean, producing zero or minimal pollution.
Does hydrogen technology work? We at SERC can answer with an emphatic yes. While further development is still needed, this technology has been proven to work, not only in the laboratory but in real-life applications, where it is helping to meet the daily energy needs of ordinary Americans. SERC has installed a completely clean, completely sustainable transportation system in southern California's Coachella Valley based on solar generated hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles. At the other end of the state, a SERC fuel cell powers a radio repeater station on a rugged mountaintop in Redwood National Park, providing phone service and Internet access to the remote Yurok Indian Reservation. These facilities are in daily use.
The work I described has been funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Energy through the support provided by the Hydrogen Future Act. But our work is not yet finished. Hydrogen technology is still expensive and the hydrogen infrastructure is not widespread. Manufacturing and durability issues still need to be addressed.
Technology development is not the only impediment to the creation of a hydrogen economy. Progress has been hampered for years by public concern about the safety of hydrogen, an almost irrational fear that stems from the 1937 Hindenburg disaster. It is so widespread that those of us in the field call it the ''Hindenburg Syndrome.'' Though researchers have recently vindicated hydrogen as the cause of the Hindenburg conflagration and though studies and pilot projects have repeatedly shown that hydrogen can be used safely, there is still a large educational effort needed. Elected officials, building inspectors, fire marshals, and others who have jurisdiction over hydrogen projects must be informed about hydrogen and its safety. In fact, hydrogen is safer than the fossil fuels we are accustomed to using and has the added benefit that it cannot spill, cannot pollute the air, soil, or water, and is completely nontoxic.
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The establishment of consistent, universal safety codes and standards for hydrogen fuel is essential to securing public and institutional acceptance of hydrogen. The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) is working under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy to develop such codes. Additional partners in this effort include the Compressed Gas Association, the National Fire Protection Association, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the International Standards Organization, and the International Codes Council. As vice-chairman of the NHA and a hydrogen proponent, I have a strong interest in seeing these codes and standards developed, approved, and implemented.
The message about hydrogen can also be introduced into our schools. Hydrogen energy topics are appropriate in general science classes and fit very well into high school chemistry and physics classes. Our universities and graduate schools must produce the scientists and engineers who will develop the next generation of hydrogen technologies and engineer them into durable, safe systems. SERC and others are working to provide the hydrogen energy curricula to fill these needs.
We have made much progress throughout the first decade of the Hydrogen Future Act. As I have described, there is much more to be accomplished. I urge the Congress to support this important legislation that will lead to a secure and clean energy future.
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Panel I Discussion
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I want to thank all the witnesses for their testimony. We have a bit over 11 minutes remaining. Let me turn now to my Ranking Member, and she may make her comments and pose questions that you may be considering answers for in our absence, and at about five of, we will recessthat is, with five minutes remaining in the vote, we will recess the hearing and return immediately after the vote. Ms. Woolsey.
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Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Garman, we have been waiting for you. The Administration's budgetI mean, we are hearingactually, let me just lead into this, then I am going to ask my question. We are hearing about a great need to coordinate, to harmonize. You also said the Federal Government's role is coordination for not just these two energies today that we are talking about, but all of our energies in our renewable energy programs. How can we do it when the Administration's budget request cuts renewable energy and energy efficiency programs by 50 percent? If we sustain these levels, what impacts will this have on these programs?
DOE Budget Issues
Mr. GARMAN. That is not an unexpected question, so I will do my very best. As the Secretary has said, and I think he will be appearing before you later on this month, the budget that was prepared and submitted by the President is a transitional budget that was, in large part, waiting for the National Energy Policy document. A couple of the things that were recommended in the National Policy document was to instruct us, or recommend, that we undertake a strategic review of our energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. That review is underway. It began with public meetings in Atlanta and Chicago on Tuesday and will continue in the coming weeks.
We understand now that the Energy Policy document has come out and said what it has said about the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy. We are looking forward to working with Congress, not only for future budget requests, but as we continue the deliberations on funding, the appropriate funding levels, in this fiscal year.
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Hydrogen Research Priorities
Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you. Dr. Lehman, if you were setting research priorities for DOE and the Hydrogen Research Program, what would be the most important elements in the program for you?
Dr. LEHMAN. The most important, I would like to echo what the second witness said. The most important element, I think, is to support the development of renewable hydrogen; that is, the production of hydrogen from renewable energy resources. As I said, the reason that we are involved in hydrogen technology is that we think it is a crucial link to a renewable energy future. We think that is the direction the country should go, and I think that the DOE Hydrogen Program does a lot of good things, but its emphasis needs to shift more toward renewable energy and production of hydrogen from renewable energy.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Another area you talked about, or wrote about in your testimony, was safety. How far along do you think we are in the process to being able to complete the program so that we can have safe transportation of hydrogen, because it does us no good to have a great productand I would like Dr. Hubbard to answer that, too, if he wouldif we can't get it where it needs to go safely.
Dr. LEHMAN. Let me give my answer in two parts. I think the technology we develop and put out in the world is safe, and I think that has been demonstrated over and over again. I think the public perception of hydrogen is that it is not safe. Those of us in this field have called the public's perception the Hindenburg syndrome. The image that people have when you say hydrogen is that of the Hindenburg. People are irrationally afraid of hydrogen, and that extends to elected officials, to fire marshals, to building inspectors. So a lot of progress needs to be made in educating people about how safe hydrogen is.
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Ms. WOOLSEY. Dr. Hubbard, talk about that education process, if you would.
Dr. HUBBARD. The left pointed outas soon as I get this so that you can hear mewhile we can transport it safely now, we have had a lot of experience at it and there have been very few accidents in it. But the public still perceives it as a very, very dangerous material, and there do have to be standards. But the technology is, basically, there. It is an education program and I think you just simply have to talk about it. That is the one reason why I sometimes think that validation has a certain amount of validity. We know how to do it, but the only reason for doing much more of it, in my view, is to make sure that the public knows we know how to do it.
Ms. WOOLSEY. The light is red and I think that we have to go vote, so should we justthank you very much. I will be back.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. We have a bit more than five minutes remaining in the vote, so we will recess the hearing and reconvene as soon as we return.
Chairman BARTLETT. We will reconvene our hearing and recognize Mr. Calvert.
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Mr. CALVERT. I thank the Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your recognizing me. I don't have a question. I am going to make a quick statement, then I must run up to my office for a previous appointment.
I just want to say that I strongly support continued hydrogen research and development. For that reason, I plan to introduce a bill today to reauthorize the Hydrogen Future Act of 1996. While serving as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Environment of the Committee on Science in the last Congress, I began consideration of this reauthorization, which has come to fruition today.
The President's National Energy Policy calls for a balanced energy supply portfolio. I completely support the President's recommendations. America's unprecedented economic growth and prosperity rests on an affordable supply of energy. We can all agree that reducing emissions and conserving resources is a good idea. For this reason, I continue to advocate the pursuit of greater efficiencies and reduced energy consumption in our industrial processes in our transportation sector and in our communities and homes. The national energy strategy that will emerge from Congress will include all our energy options and hydrogen will have a place in that strategy.
I first became interested in the possibilities that hydrogen presents while at CECERT, our excellent engineering center at the University of California Riverside. CECERT is responsible for a number of innovative programs to reduce energy demand and to improve the environment. CECERT has successfully demonstrated a hydrogen vehicle which has been well received. Additionally, Riverside County participates with a number of other partners in Sunline, a highly successful public bus fleet demonstration of hydrogen technology which includes hydrogen infrastructure, which was mentioned in previous testimony.
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Programs such as CECERT and Sunline show that hydrogen vehicles are not only possible but practical. Programs such as these are critical to sustaining my district's growth while continually improving air quality. For this reason, last year while Chairman of the Science Committee's Energy Environment Subcommittee, I considered sponsoring the reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act of 1995. And today, I am proud to be introducing this legislation today and understand that Senator Harkin will also be introducing similar legislation in the Senate also.
The bill will authorize appropriations for hydrogen R&D at the Department of Energy totaling $250 million with an additional $150 million for demonstration projects. This is a substantial increase in authorization levels over previous years. The bill will also sunset hydrogen technical advisory panel and directs the Secretary of Energy to enter into appropriate arrangements with the National Academy of Sciences to establish a hydrogen advisory board, thus giving hydrogen R&D the same high level Federal and nationwide visibility it deserves.
My bill is named after two former colleagues, George E. Brown, Jr., who honorably served the district adjacent to mine for many years. He was my good friend and mentor. I was proud to serve under Chairman Walker on the Science Committee and respect his leadership on this and many other issues, and certainly, he is also my good friend. I am pleased to introduce this bill and invite my colleagues to join me in cosponsor of this important forward-looking R&D legislation.
Mr. Chairman, as a note, I plan on introducing this bill at 1 or 2 this afternoon before we head out of town.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much and I am honored to be a cosponsor of your bill. Thank you.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that.
DOE Budget Changes
Chairman BARTLETT. Mr. Garman, several weeks ago I met with the Vice President concerning the energy budget. I told him that this president was my president, of whom I am very fond, by the way, and I don't want him to look dumb, and I wanted him to explain to me how cutting the energy budget by 50 percent wasn't dumb when we face a potential energy crisis. He referred me to OMB. As a matter of fact, I asked him to come and brief me in my office, and they came, and what they told me was that it wasn't as bad as it appeared. That for just about every dollar that was cut from R&D, another dollar appeared in tax credits to create a market. And the argument was that if there was a market, the industry would then make the investment in the R&D. I don't have any big argument with that philosophy. My concern is that we have done a very poor job of articulating that to America, and when they see us facing an energy crisis and they see that we have cut some parts of the budget by 50 percent, they need an explanation. How can you help us do that?
Mr. GARMAN. Mr. Chairman, I believe that process has begun. As I indicated in answer to an earlier question, this was a transitional budget. Some of the cuts that were madethat were proposed, I should saywere, in part, to make some room for weatherization funding and some other funding that were priorities of the President. And they were also made in such a way to preserve core competencies of the R&D programs across the portfolio while awaiting the National Energy Policy to see what guidance it could give us. That policy now has been issued. It has stressed the importance of energy efficiency. It has inspired us with a promise of renewable energy, and as we undertake the strategic reviews of these programs, we will be considering the appropriate funding levels for them.
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The Role of Renewables in Hydrogen Production
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you. We need to get that message out to the American people that there is going to be adequate money in the budget to support the necessary R&D so that we will have a secure energy future.
Dr. Hubbard, you emphasized the importance of creating more hydrogen from renewables. Thank you very much for that emphasis. I think that some of our people believe that fossil fuels are here, essentially, forever, that our only challenge is to go out and find it. God hid it away knowing how profligate we would be in the use of energy, and so he hid, essentially, a limitless amount of fossil fuels away, and our only challenge is kind of go find it, kind of a cosmic hide and go seek. My personal conviction is that fossil fuels are limited, that for a secure energy future, we are going to have to get more of our energy from renewables. Thank you very much for this emphasis. Where would you start? Which renewables would you start with?
Dr. HUBBARD. You have got two which are now moving toward commercialization, and that is wind and photovoltaic. In those cases, what is needed is very effective electrolysis. Utilizing the output from those electrical generation capabilities, I just had my ear beaten by Sid Groench, who is the program manager, and who is very good, by the way. And he says they are working hard on that electrolysis. I would continue to work hard on it and I would probably increase emphasis for it, and I suspect that it could use a few additional dollars. Biomass is another good possibility, the gasification of biomass to mix CO hydrogen mixtures is an important way to go.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Katsaros, you mentioned the need for standards and codes, and so forth, and when you were mentioning that, I thought of the fastener industry and the concerns that they had worldwide to make sure that when you made a nut one place, it would fit a bolt that was made somewhere else. And I noted that Government, I think, had little or no role in that. The industry got together and came up with standards. Why shouldn't the industry play a dominant role here in coming up with standards and codes, and so forth? We may need legislation to enforce that, but why shouldn't industry play the major role here?
Mr. KATSAROS. Well, I think industry can and is playing a major role in that. I agree with your point exactly. I view the issue as public confidence as much as anything else. That is to say, we talked earlier about some perceptions of hydrogen, and perceptions, we all know, can be reality. And I think it is very important for public perception and for public confidence, the Government join with industry in helping to develop those standards and, essentially, put their stamp of approval on those standards in order to improve confidence. But I think your point is exactly right, that industry is very well prepared, and very capable, and very willing to invest a lot of time and energy in standards and codes, absolutely.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I see my time has expired. Let me turn now to Mr. Lampson.
Foreign Fuel Cell Research and Development
Mr. LAMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My questions are probably going to be more simple than what others on the panel might be, but let me just jump in. Do any of you know anything that happened, supposedly, within the last year or so, some significant breakthrough on fuel cell technology in Canada that someone has done? Does that sound rightdo any of you know anything about it? I guess the biggest effort we are trying to make is to reduce the cost.
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Mr. HABERMAN. If I might, Congressman? The Canadian program is a priority of the Canadian Natural Resources Canada Government, which gives them quite a bit of support. They have made steady progression at three or four entities in Canada in regards to power density, in regards to the mechanization, in regards to the environments that these things can live in. The large and most well known effort is in the northwest portion, which is Ballard, which is fairly well known, and they have made an agreement with Daimler Chrysler to make a fuel cell that has enough energy density to serve as a replacement for an engine for a car, which is an extreme challenge, and they seem to be making good progress on that.
Mr. LAMPSON. Okay. So it was a challenge, not so much a breakthrough. They have not accomplished their goal yet?
Mr. HABERMAN. I would say that is a fair assessment.
Mr. LAMPSON. Okay. All right. You had mentionedwhile we are on it, you had talked about how much of a priority other countries are making of this. Would you tell us some of those things that other countries are, indeed, doing, and put that into context with what we should be doing here specifically?
Mr. HABERMAN. Certainly. In the country of Japan, they spend over $50 million a year in hydrogen energy specific efforts. I will give you a perfect example. They are actually funding a couple of American companies that couldn't get any American support just because there wasn't a place in the program of the efforts, or money, to make a large scale orI am sorrya medium scale hydrogen liquifier aimed at the commercial market, the idea of trying to store hydrogen as a liquid. This is a big deal because there are German car companies that foresee using liquid hydrogen as a fuel method because people are used to fuels in the paradigmothenecy liquids rather than gasses. So there is enormous commercial implications to being able to create and handle in commercial settings liquid hydrogen, not just in industrial settings. And yet, the only commercial efforts that are underway to do this are in Japan and Germany. So that is a perfect example of us, fundamentally, just not having a commercial setting in fuel handling that is a possible implication of the entire ground transportation future.
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U.S. Hydrogen Funding
Mr. LAMPSON. If Japan is spending $50 million, do you know some thatwhat are other countries spending, and then what has been allocated by our Government?
Mr. HABERMAN. Well, I will leave it to Mr. Garman to talk about the DOE allocations in the future. I don't remember all the specifics of it.
Mr. LAMPSON. Up to now, it has been
Mr. HABERMAN. Well, the appropriations have been much less than the authorizations in the Hydrogen Future Act, and the last few years it has beenwell, it has always been, historically, the appropriation has always been underneath the authorization. And typically, you know, what happens is the appropriations request is quite low, and then everyone comes up on the Hill and briefs the Hill about how important it is and money is restored. And that has been the waythat has been the fight.
Mr. LAMPSON. What is your speculation as to what we would gain in dollars, as far as economic benefits? How would we turn that into an investment that gives us a much greater return?
Mr. HABERMAN. I think if you start with the DOE program, which I am a fan of from the industrial point of view, because it is a cost share program. The vast majority of projects that it encompasses require an extensive cost share from industry. It is a litmus test of the sincerity of the partners of Government, that they are putting money in side by side with Government to accomplish specific efforts. So I think the program has had an excellent record of leveraging money. Usually, this results in some intellectual property that is then licensed, which pays fees back to the Government for royalties and license fees for implementing those patents as products. Examples include fuel cells, examples include storage devices like, you know, cryogenic tanks, or high pressure tanks, or hydrods. So the public has been steadily getting some money back from this effort. I think there is enormous leverage. In other words, your question is, really, what is the commercial implications of giving the hydrogen program money, and my answer is I think there is enormous leverage from that, because every time we build on the core competency the program has already established at some critical national labs, those labs become feeders to industry that can use those things and quickly, you know, abbreviates their life to getting into implementation. So I think the system isthe path is very well tread and very well marked.
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Mr. LAMPSON. Mr. Garman, do you want to make a comment?
Mr. GARMAN. I see the red light and I am sensitive to that, but I wanted to try to provide you with a thumbnail sketch because you asked the question relating to what the Government was spending, and in a very rough way, what those dollars are going for. In the Department of Energy, we will spend about $26 million in Fiscal Year 2001 in the Office of Power Technologies for the Hydrogen Program. But, in addition to that, in the Office of Transportation Technologies, we will spend about $35 million in fuel cell work. And we also spend a smaller amount on fuel cell work in some of the other program elements. I would make the point, because coordination has also been raised, that those are two funding lines that are funded out of two different appropriations bills, and sometimes that makes it difficult for us to coordinate efforts we might hope. But we are making that effort in coordination, and I just wanted to give you the sketch of where the money was going so far.
Mr. LAMPSON. Thank you. And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Matheson.
DOE's Strategic Review
Mr. MATHESON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Garman, I noticed in your written testimony, you state that the Administration supports the reauthorization of the Hydrogen Future Act. And then you say you believe that the authorization levels should comport with the President's funding request. This Act lists some dollar amounts in it for authorized levels going forward for five years. Does this Act, in fact, comport with those funding requests now?
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Mr. GARMAN. No, it does not. The funding request for the President in the coming fiscal year is around $27 million for hydrogen alone. The sense of what I was hoping to convey to the Committee is that we are undertaking a strategic review. Of course, based on the National Energy Policy that was sent, that came to our attention, of course, long after that number was sent to Congress, we are doing this review on a pace to try to make it relevant to the discussions and deliberations that you all will have as this bill moves forward, as to what the appropriate level should be.
Mr. MATHESON. I think you just anticipated my next question, which was I was wondering have you begun this review and what is your sense of the timing of the strategic review for these programs?
Mr. GARMAN. Yes, sir. The public phase of the review began this week. The Secretary has asked us to complete the review by September 1 in order to, frankly, make it relevant to the end game budget discussions that go on about that time. And also, to make it relevant to the budget formulation that we are undertaking for the Fiscal Year 2002 budget year. He has asked us to take a quick look and a first step in the strategic review, in fact, and complete it by July or so, so that we can begin to prepare properly for the 2003 budget.
The Department of Energy (DOE) agrees with the majority of the cross-cutting and numerous program-specific recommendations made by the National Research Council during its review of the Department's renewable energy research programs. We are working toward their implementation. These recommendations range from urging the continuance of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's technology roadmapping and strategic planning efforts, to developing consistent selection processes for selecting specific R&D programs and projects, to better integrating related program activities in the areas of biomass and distributed energy resources R&D.
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There are only two instances where we differ somewhat with the National Research Council's positions: 1) creating a fellowship program that provides direct funding for graduate students to obtain advanced degrees related to renewable energy research and development; and 2) pursuit of hot dry rock and geopressured geothermal systems as a second priority (behind the first priority of Enhanced Geothermal Systems R&D) within the Geothermal Program.
In the first instance, we agree that developing a skilled cadre of energy talent is important to accelerating breakthroughs for, and marketplace utilization of, emerging renewable energy technologies. We presently support a number of graduate students through various university-based research programs, furthering both our program mission and a renewable energy talent pool. We would also welcome the opportunity to help shape a directly-funded renewable energy education program, should it be established in the future by an appropriate organization. However, the Department must continue to focus on its primary mission and allocate its funding on the renewable energy research and development activities themselves.
In the second instance, while we do support research on Enhanced Geothermal Systems as a means to significantly expand our ability to access national geothermal resources, neither new technological breakthroughs nor renewed industry interest suggest that there are compelling reasons for the Federal Government to re-engage in either hot dry rock or geopressured systems at this time.
The National Research Council's Recommendations to the Office of Power Technologies Programs
Mr. MATHESON. Okay. I guess a question I would ask you beyond that is the National Research Council, in their review of the Office of Power Technology Programs, they made some recommendations, and I am wondering if you can tell us which of these Research Council recommendations you agree with and which ones you don't.
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Mr. GARMAN. Specifically, I probably should do that for the record to give it the full flavor, but I can tell you that we agree with most of them, and that there is a great area of agreement, and that we have worked, Dr. Bob Dixon behind me with our Office of Power Technologies, has worked to implement these recommendations where possible. And in fact, in 2000, the Research Council was asked the question if our ongoing initiatives and management challenges in response to that report were moving in the right direction, and we were told by the NRC that we were moving in the right direction on those things.
U.S. R&D Cooperation With International Community
Mr. MATHESON. In answer to some previous questions, the panel discussed some activities that are going on in other countries relative to this research. I am curious to what extent efforts in the United States are being coordinated with what is going on with the rest of the world and if there are some efforts to leverage this work going on to develop this research. I don't knowI don't direct that to anyone in particular, but anyone who wants to answer it.
Dr. LEHMAN. I can answer that. One of the things that is going on is that the people involved in the research community are getting together next year's annual meeting of the National Hydrogen Association and the International Society for Hydrogen Energy and the Canadian Hydrogen Association will occur together in Montreal in June. And the effort is to coordinate efforts worldwide.
Mr. MATHESON. Great.
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Mr. HABERMAN. If I might, there is a treaty called the Hydrogen Implementing Agreement, which is an annex to the International Energy Agency. It has ten member countries. The U.S. is the chairman at this point in time, and it undertakes very specific tasks that are fairly discreet and compartmentalized, things on storage, on systems engineering, areas that have to do even with electrolysis. And so there is an initial effort to try to do some coordination. It is veryit receives extremely low levels of support from all the nations, a very modest sort of thing. But we are very hopeful to see that grow and get more support, because it leverages experience that many of these nations have. Sometimes it is not the money. Sometimes it is the experience that they have, you know. The experience that is going on in Iceland is applicable to the world, but people say, Iceland, what does it matter? Well, it matters because it is the first hydrogen economy with complete political support. And so, you know, the Hydrogen Implementing Agreement has great validity and pertinence.
Mr. MATHESON. Thank you.
Mr. KATSAROS. If I could add just one more dimension to that, briefly?
Mr. MATHESON. Yes.
Mr. KATSAROS. There are a number of demonstration projects that have been approved by the European Union. Across just about every western European country will have a demonstration project of fuel cell vehicles. And through our European subsidiaries, we plan on participating in those. And so it is not a distinct coordination of research, but it is an active participation of a U.S. company in some of these foreign projects.
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Mr. MATHESON. That is good to hear. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Udall.
Mr. UDALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to welcome the panel and apologize for arriving not on time to hear your testimony, but I look forward to reviewing it. I want to also acknowledge Dr. Hubbard. I haven't seen Dr. Hubbard in a while. It is great to welcome you here. Dr. Hubbard and II think the verb is accurateconspired in Colorado to promote renewable technologies, and we had some luck there, although, much of the legislation we proposed ended up being defeated in one form or another in the Colorado legislature. And I remember one particular bill, metering, where I lost in committee ten to three, and I was informed I had won a great victory that day. And I said, well, why? And the answer was, well, the utilities showed up in person to kill your bill, they didn't do it in the back rooms. But things have changed and there is a lot of exciting developments not only on the horizon but right in front of us. So again, Dr. Hubbard, it is nice to see you and the rest of the panel.
I just had a comment, and I know we want to move on to the next panel, but I wanted to welcome Mr. Garman and associate myself with the remarks of my colleague, Congressman Woolsey. I am very hopeful we can work, and work expeditiously, to at least hold our own with our R&D and other efforts in the research arena, and I stand ready to help you in any way possible as the Co-chair of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus in the House. And as we have said many times, we have, I think, enormous opportunity not only to do right by the environment, but also, to increase our national security by becoming less dependent on a single dimension energy system of oil and gas. And we also could create enormous economic opportunity with new jobs and export technologies all over the world. And I hope you will continue to bring that message to the Administration. I know you have many allies here, both Democrats and Republicans on the Hill that will help you in those important efforts. So welcome and thank you for your time today.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I want to thank the witnesses very much for their testimony. Mr. Haberman, I would like to ask you a question. It is rhetorical, because I know the answer that needs to be on the record. When one mentions nuclear energy, Chernobyl quickly comes to mind. And when you mention hydrogen, why the Hindenburg comes to mind. They are both perceived to be very unsafe because of the Chernobyl and the Hindenburg. I would like you to reiterate your former statement on our industrial safety record with hydrogen.
Mr. HABERMAN. Well, it is quite good. Throughout the U.S., hydrogen is used today in growing and growing amounts, and it is used in metals, glass, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors. It is used in the dye in your clothes. It is just an extremely prevalent industrial chemical that has a wonderful safety record. In regards to the Hindenburg syndrome that my colleague on my left mentioned, I would like to point out when the Germans needed to weatherproof, their zeppelins, they painted a coating onto the outside of it that was, fundamentally, flammable. And over that terrible day in Lakehurst, New Jersey, lightning ignited the coating on the zeppelin and caused the terrible accident. And what happened was hydrogen dissipates straight upward and carried much of the heat and the flames away from the people that were there and saved many lives. Most of the people that were killed were doused in diesel fuel from the propulsion engines. The reason most people survived that crash was because the hydrogen fundamentally channeled a lot of the heat away from those people. And everything on Capitol Hill needs a spin, so I will give you the spin, and that is, don't paint your airships with rocket fuel. Today, hydrogen technology is being used also in the nuclear environment because there is a nuclear production in nuclear waste and in nuclear operations. And there is a component of hydrogen safety that is in nuclear energy as well, and many of the technologies that are developed at the national labs working on hydrogen technology is applicable to increasing the safety and process monitoring efficiency in the nuclear world, which we are doing. So there is a lot of cross multi-disciplinary benefits, and I think they just need more visibility. Thank you.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I think if it is a fuel, it burns. Doesn't it? And you are not going to get energy without burning something, and if it burns well, why, it could explode under certain circumstances.
Mr. HABERMAN. Yes, sir, but hydrogen does not wait for the cigar-smoking janitor to come by. It just dissipates straight up and away.
Chairman BARTLETT. That is correct. It is the lightest of all the elements and it is the only one that escapes the pull of gravity on our earth, by the way. I just want to thank those of you who emphasized hydrogen from renewables. Thank you very much. We are giving a lot of lip service to that. I hope that the Administration will put as many dollars behind it as they are putting lip service behind it, because we need more there.
Several of you have mentioned the efficacy of hydrogen as a battery, and I think that that may be one its major utilities. Not only can you carry energy from here to there, but you also can store it. And I think that under many circumstances it is a very good battery; particularly, when you are talking about renewables, and the sun doesn't shine, and the wind doesn't blow, you need a big battery source, and I think that hydrogen has a potential for that.
And the last thing I would like to mention before excusing this panel is that the Government and Mr. Secretary, you need to help us here. I know it costs your part of the budget no money, but the Government needs to sponsor these demonstration projects. Our buildings need to take advantage of the fact that the sun shines and our fleets of vehicles need to use renewable energy, hopefully, through hydrogen. And you can help us there by convincing others of your colleagues that they need to be doing this, is this the right thing to do. And it will help more than almost anything else to advance this. We are big enough. We economies of scale that we can really, really use here. And if we use them, they are very much more likely to be used in the private sector, so Government needs to set a good example here.
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I want to thank all the witnesses for their testimony. Thank you very much. We will excuse this panel and convene the next one.
Let me welcome our second panel and my two colleagues, Mr. Graham and Mrs. Biggert, both of whom have important legislation that we are considering. Thank you very much for joining us. Mr. Graham.
STATEMENT OF HON. LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Mr. GRAHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for having us. I very much appreciate you inviting us over to talk about a very timely topic, electricity and energy. I appreciate the ability to testify on the research and development aspects of H.R. 1679, the Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001, which I have introduced along with many good cosponsors, and the bill has many components to it, but this Committee will be consideringthe energy production side as the primary component of it, but this Committee, Mr. Chairman, will be considering the continued education and research and development aspects of the bill. Why am I interested in this issue, like all Americans, we are facing an energy crisis. I remember the famous words from Apollo 13, ''Houston, we have a problem.'' Well, I think it should be applied to WashingtonWashington, we have a problem. And Ms. Woolsey, thank you for having us here. I know California is having a problem, but it is going to affect us all. I live in a state, South Carolina, where we have 65 percent of our energy supply comes from the nuclear power industry. I would invite you to come check our environment out and spend money while you are there. It is a lovely place, known for its environment and its quality of life, and I would assure you that the nuclear industry has served South Carolina well. It is a safe, efficient, clean form of energy and we are very proud of the partnership we have with the nuclear industry, but this country is at a crossroads.
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Historically, we have led the world in the development of nuclear technology, military, commercial, and medical. But our leadership is threatened, and a part of my bill is to make sure that we invest in the next generation of nuclear scientists to make sure that our universities are being fully utilized and we take the great brain power that has existed in America and revitalize the nuclear component of that brain power and bring some solutions to the table so that our economy and quality of life can be preserved. We are investing money, $60 million, and the bill is authorized for the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative.
Now, this program was started by the Secretary of Energy. It is not authorized but it is an existing program that is very important because it invests in our universities and tries to train the next generation of nuclear scientists. And we are in peril. We are losing a whole generation. Young people are not going into the hard sciences and fewer still are going into the nuclear area. So this legislation, the research, development, and education component, is designed to put some money on the table and authorize this program started by Secretary Richardson, and we have $60 million that will be used to improve our infrastructure through the support of improvements and performance, sufficiency, reliability, and associated economics of nuclear energy.
We have $34.2 million authorized in the bill, Section 124 for university programs. Now, what we will do with that $34.2 million goes as follows. We will have $13 million for grants and payments to upgrading existing university reactors, and we need to be more supportive of the university reactor programs because that is where the future will really be made. We have $10.2 million for grants and payments to faculty, staff, and students in nuclear programs throughout the Nation. A shot in the arm, financially, to make sure we do not lose our leadership role, which is in peril. $11 million of the $34.2 million, Mr. Chairman, will go to fellowships, scholarships, and other programs to support student development in the area of nuclear engineering and related studies. Twenty percent of any appropriated money under Section 124 must be made available to help physics programs.
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Generation IV Reactor Technology. The future is at hand. There is really excitement throughout the world in terms of developing new reactor technology. The Peoples Republic of China, of all places, South Africa, of all places, are investing dramatically in Generation IV reactor technology, the Pebble Bed reactor technology. It is new, it is exciting, and this bill has a support network for that technology. It directs the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study on the competitive viability of Generation IV reactor technology in this country, look at its safety features and its waste characteristics, and report back to us on the viability of a Generation IV nuclear reactor program in this country. It is going around us throughout the world, and this bill would direct that we pay some attention, and do some studying, and see if we can be competitive in that area.
It also directs that we use our DOE facilities that are numerous throughout the land as far as siting any Generation IV reactor. One of the problems you have politically is if you do anything in the nuclear area, as you have sometimes, people oppose the development of such technology. DOE facilities in this bill will be inventoried and the secretary will report back to us. Those sites that are available to be a siting facility for a new reactor if we choose to go down that road, I think that is smart. The infrastructure is there, the security is there, people on the facility understand nuclear energy, and these sites have mostly been surrounded by very supportive communities, like the Savannah River site in my district. So we are asking that the Secretary look at existing DOE sites for potential nuclear development.
The accelerator, I am sure I know your background, Mr. Chairman. You are a scientist by trade. The accelerator is an exciting concept and Title V of the bill directs that we keep the research and development component of the accelerator program intact at Los Alamos and get on with it. The accelerator as a technology can supply us tritium. The accelerator is a technology that can produce medical isotopes. The accelerator is a technology that can transmutate existing nuclear waste, reducing its dangerous components and reducing the volume of it. The accelerator technology is something that this bill is very much interested in enhancing.
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One thing about isotopes, the accelerator can produce a whole generation of medical isotopes, and as research and development goes forward in curing diseases of our time and of the future, I think the accelerator is a great investment for this country. The possibility for the treatment of disease from cancer to heart disease are endless. A specifically engineered isotope has the ability to search out a specific cancer cell, attach itself, and irradiate only that cell, sparing the surrounding cells. And that, to me, is very exciting. The isotope component of the accelerator could, literally, change lives and save lives, and that is a big part of the bill.
Mr. Chairman, the research and development component of this bill, to me, is just as important as getting new reactors on-line and producing power from nuclear reactors, as we need to today, to solve the energy problem. This bill is forward-looking and that component of this bill comes to your Committee. And it says behind you, ''Where there is no vision, the people perish.'' This bill is about a vision of the 21st century where we reengage the nuclear industry. We invest in the infrastructure in our schools and our universities. We put some money aside to train the next generation of scientists. We get back into the development of safe and secure nuclear technology. And it will happen on your watch in this Committee, and the bill is in good hands, and thank you for having me.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Graham follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN LINDSEY O. GRAHAM
Mr. Chairman, Congresswoman Woolsey, and Members of the Subcommittee; I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on the research and development aspects of H.R. 1679, the Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001. While the legislation focuses primarily on the energy production side of the nuclear equation, the importance of continued education, research and development should not be underestimated.
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I come to this debate over the importance of nuclear research and development, after spending my six years in Congress advocating for nuclear energy. I welcome our renewed national debate about the role of nuclear energy in producing the energy we need while protecting the air we breathe. As you know, nuclear power is the Nation's largest generator of electricity that doesn't produce emissions.
South Carolina is largely a nuclear state. We have seven commercial reactors, providing more than 65 percent of our state's electricity production. We are also extremely proud of our low electricity costs and our clean air. In South Carolina, we've proven you can have both. Our state's largest employer is the Savannah River Site and we are proud of its contribution to winning the Cold War and our scientific contributions to both the commercial and defense related nuclear worlds.
The United States has lead the world in the development and improvement of nuclear technologies for military, commercial, and medical purposes since a group of American scientists first split the atom in Chicago more than 60 years ago. Today that leadership is threatened. It's threatened because fewer and fewer of our college students are interested in engineering and the hard sciences and of that group fewer of them are interested in nuclear studies. Our legislation hopes to maintain America's leadership role by investing in university reactor programs, new reactor technologies, and exploring the possibilities those accelerator technologies present us.
We must do more to encourage students to study nuclear engineering and physics. We must continue to support university research reactors. Though not included in my bill, I support the development of national centers of excellence in order for us to continue to lead the world in this important field.
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The Electricity Supply Assurance Act authorizes $60 million for the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI). This initiative is key to the preservation of our Nation's nuclear science and technology infrastructure through its support of improvements in performance, efficiency, reliability, and associated economics of nuclear energy. Among the new technologies developed through NERI research is the new Generation IV or Pebble Bed Reactor. In addition, significant research into nuclear proliferation, waste disposition, and other issues related to nuclear power are conducted with NERI funds. NERI also supports efforts to maintain a competitive position for American nuclear technology overseas, an important component of maintaining our domestic industry's leadership in this important arena.
As I'm sure you are aware, in April of this year the University Research Reactor Task Force chaired by Robert Long issued a 25-page report addressing the needs of our universities' reactor programs. In that report, the Task Force supported the funding in H.R. 1679 Section 124 for University Programs. Section 124 would authorize $34.2 million in fiscal year 2002 for university programs. Thirteen million dollars would be set aside for grants and payments to universities to upgrade existing university reactors. The bill also addresses our domestic nuclear engineering programs by authorizing $10.2 million for grants and payments to faculty, staff, and students in nuclear programs throughout the Nation. The legislation would also authorize $11 million for fellowships, scholarships, and other support to students and to departments of nuclear engineering and related studies. Within Section 124, H.R. 1679 requires that the Secretary of Energy allocate at least 20 percent of any appropriated money authorized under Section 124 be made available to support health physics programs.
If we are to continue America's dominance in the nuclear world we must consider new and innovative approaches to reactor technology. South Africa and the People's Republic of China have made heavy investment into Generation IV or Pebble Bed Reactor technology. H.R. 1679 directs the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study on the competitive viability of this technology, its enhanced safety features, and its waste characteristics. The legislation also requires a report to Congress on the Secretary's activities related to the private/public partnership on research and development and the conduct of a demonstration project for one or more Generation IV nuclear energy systems. The contents of the report shall include the assessment on the available technologies, how best to make those technologies commercially viable, and a recommendation on not more than three promising Generation IV nuclear energy systems. The study of the Generation IV reactor technology should culminate in a plan for the selection and conceptual design of at least one Generation IV nuclear energy system by September 30, 2004. H.R. 1679 authorizes $50 million in fiscal year 2002 to fund this report.
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H.R. 1679 requires the Secretary to consider an existing DOE facility as the site for a demonstration facility of the Generation IV reactor. I believe this approach only makes sense as it helps alleviate concerns over siting and can take full advantage of the emergency preparedness routines already in place at these facilities. Many of our existing facilities also have excellent access to the electricity grid and are easily accessible from the Nation's leading nuclear engineering programs. Savannah River Site in my home state for example is easily accessible to the nuclear engineering and nuclear physics programs of the University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, the Medical University of South Carolina, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State University, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Florida. The use of existing DOE facilities should also be considering if we decide to build a traditional research reactor as part of a Center of Excellence as advocated by the NERAC, a fusion reactor as part of a larger fusion program, or an electricity park.
Title V is the jewel of this legislation as far as research and development is concerned. The Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) program currently undergoing continued design work at Los Alamos is the Nation's best choice for restoring our nuclear deterrent force's tritium supplies, but it also offers us the best opportunity for reliable and specialized medical isotope production and possibly a way to reduce our waste stream to the permanent federal repository at Yucca Mountain.
Accelerator technologies provide the best opportunity for the production and study of medical isotopes. Our current supply of isotopes in terms of volume and reliability is unreliable. Accelerator technology allows researchers access to the greatest variety of medical isotopes and allows them to produce the specific isotope they need. By giving researchers access to the specific isotopes they need we will be able to increase medical efficacy and allow research to accelerate. Without AAA, as the Department of Energy begins to close down its aging and limited isotope production infrastructure, the shortage of isotopes will only be :exacerbated. Now is the time we need to do more research in this vital area to protect human health. The possibilities for the treatment of disease from cancer to heart disease are endless. A specifically engineered isotope has the ability to search out a specific cancerous cell, attach itself, and radiate only that cell sparing the surrounding cells the damage associated with traditional radiation treatments.
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Accelerator technology may also be a part of the answer to our Nation's irradiated spent fuel storage problem. While the technology will not eliminate the need for a National Repository, it may decrease the radio toxicity of the materials entering Yucca Mountain, thereby decreasing the amount of time those materials must be stored there by thousands of years.
The AAA is a gold mine of scientific possibilities. H.R. 1679 recognizes its scientific and practical benefits and authorizes $120 million for fiscal year 2002 for the research, development, and demonstration activities of the AAA program.
I appreciate the opportunity to testify and appreciate your efforts to keep America at the forefront of nuclear energy technology.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much and thank you for your emphasis of university support. In a former life, I have done basic research and R&D in universities, in government, and in industry. And I will tell you that you get more mileage for your dollar in the university than anywhere else, and that is, primarily, because of the slave labor, the graduate students in the university. I was one of those. I have a daughter who has a Ph.D. from Hopkins and a son who is just getting a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon, and not only do you get better return for your R&D and research dollar in the universities, you are also doing another very important thing, and that is training the next generation of scientists and technologists. So thank you very much for your commitment to university Support. Mrs. Biggert.
STATEMENT OF HON. JUDY BIGGERT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
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Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to start by commending you for holding this hearing today and providing me with the opportunity to discuss H.R. 2126, the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act. And I would like to thank Ranking Member Ms. Woolsey for being here also. And I would also like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and other members of this Subcommittee, including Representatives Ehlers, Calvert, and Costello, for cosponsoring this legislation to strengthen nuclear science and engineering programs at America's universities, colleges, and national laboratories.
Nuclear science and engineering in the United States is a 50-year success story that has been written by some of the brightest minds the world has ever known. America has truly been blessed as the world leader in this area. But even as there is renewed interest in nuclear energy as one of the solutions to our Nation's energy problems, there are fewer Americans entering the nuclear science and engineering field, and even fewer institutions left with the capacity to train them. In fact, the supply of 4-year trained nuclear scientists has hit a 35-year low and there are only 28 universities that operate research reactors, less than half the number there were in 1980.
The statistics tell but the beginning of the story, however. Current projections are that 25 to 30 percent of the nuclear industries workforce and 76 percent of the nuclear workforce at our national laboratories are eligible to retire in the next five years, and a majority of the 28 operating university reactors will have to be re-licensed in the next five years, a lengthy process that most universities cannot afford. When I consider these facts, I wonder how long we can continue the success story that is nuclear science in the United States. Not long is my guess, and that is why action must be taken to reverse this troubling trend.
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That is why this Subcommittee is holding this important hearing and why I introduced the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act. This legislation is the House companion bill to legislation introduced in the Senate by my friend and colleague, Jeff Bingaman. The bill provides that financial support for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of expensive, yet essential university nuclear research reactors, resources for the professional development of faculty in the field of nuclear science and engineering, incentives for students to enter the field and opportunities for education and training through fellowships and interaction with National Laboratories staff, and general research funds for students, faculty, and National Laboratory staff.
Now more than ever, nuclear scientists and engineers are needed for much more than simply operating nuclear plants. Trained in American universities and national laboratories, these specialists are needed to help design, safely dispose of, and monitor nuclear waste, both civilian and military; to develop radioisotopes for the thousands of medical procedures performed every day; to operate and safely maintain the Nation's existing fission reactors and nuclear power plants; to help stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and respond to any future nuclear crisis worldwide; and to design, operate, and monitor current and future Naval reactors. These are not small tasks, but if we continue on the path we are on, there will not be enough people to do the job down the line.
H.R. 2126 incorporates a number of approaches recommended by reports from the National Research Council, the Department of Energy, and its Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee, all leaders in the nuclear science and engineering programs. Students, faculty, facilities, and finally, research.
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Mr. Chairman, my written statement goes into greater detail about these components, so I want to conclude by saying that this legislation is important not only to a handful of American universities, but to our national labs, our industry, our Navy, our national security, and those engaged in lifesaving medical research involving radiation. The Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act ensures that America continues to realize the benefits of a competent, well-trained, highly skilled nuclear workforce. More important, this bill is critical if we are to maintain America's standing as number one in the world in the area of nuclear science and engineering.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to testify today.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Biggert follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE JUDY BIGGERT
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to start by commending you for holding this hearing today, and providing me with this opportunity to discuss H.R. 2126, the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act.
I also want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and other Members of this Subcommittee including Representatives Ehlers, Calvert, and Costello, for cosponsoring this legislation to strengthen nuclear science and engineering programs at America's universities, colleges, and national laboratories.
Page 371 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Nuclear science and engineering in the United States is a 50-year success story that has been written by some of the brightest minds the world has ever known. America has truly been blessed as the world leader in this area.
But even as there is renewed interest in nuclear energy as one of the solutions to our Nation's energy problems, there are fewer Americans entering the nuclear science and engineering field and even fewer institutions left with the capability to train them. In fact, the supply of four-year trained nuclear scientists has hit a 35-year low and there are only 28 universities that operate research reactorsless than half the number there were in 1980.
These statistics tell but the beginning of the story, however. Current projections are that 25 to 30 percent of the nuclear industry's workforce and 76 percent of the nuclear workforce at our national laboratories are eligible to retire in the next five years. And a majority of the 28 operating university reactors will have to be relicensed in the next five years, a lengthy process that most universities cannot afford.
When I consider these facts, I wonder how long we can continue the success story that is nuclear science in the United States. Not long is my guess, and that's why action must be taken to reverse this troubling trend.
That's why this Subcommittee is holding this important hearing, and why I introduced the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act. This legislation is the House companion bill to legislation introduced in the Senate by my friend and colleague Senator Jeff Bingaman.
Page 372 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 The bill provides:
Financial support for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of expensiveyet essentialuniversity nuclear research reactors;
Resources for the professional development of faculty in the field of nuclear science and engineering;
Incentives for students to enter the field, and opportunities for education and training through fellowships and interaction with national laboratory staff; and
General research funds for students, faculty, and national laboratory staff.
Now more than ever, nuclear scientists and engineers are needed for much more than simply operating nuclear power plants. Trained at American universities and national laboratories, these specialists are needed:
to help design, safely dispose of and monitor nuclear waste, both civilian and military;
to develop radioisotopes for the thousands of medical procedures performed everyday;
to operate and safely maintain the Nation's existing fission reactors and nuclear power plants;
to help stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and respond to any future nuclear crisis worldwide; and
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to design, operate and monitor current and future Naval reactors.
These are not small tasks, but, if we continue on the path we are on, there will not be enough people to do the job down the line.
H.R. 2126 incorporates a number of approaches recommended by reports from the National Research Council, the Department of Energy, and its Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committeeall leaders in the nuclear field. The bill advances four components essential to strong nuclear science and engineering programsstudents, faculty, facilities, and finally, research.
It is essential that the nuclear science and engineering profession attract and retain new and talented students. Current DOE programs focus on graduate students. But American students must start thinking about the nuclear sciences earlier than that, as early as high school.
That's why this legislation supports a communication and outreach program designed to attract high school students and college freshmen to the field of nuclear science and engineering. It also tasks the DOE with developing a robust fellowship program to provide opportunities and support for both graduate and undergraduate students at our colleges and universities.
Page 374 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Through this fellowship program, students can spend time at DOE laboratories and learn under the mentorship of laboratory staff, or work with industry on the relicensing of their own research reactors. This unique approach to relicensing is mutually beneficial to all involved. Students receive course credit, invaluable experience, and exceptional industry contacts. University nuclear science and engineering programs benefit from industry expertise and interaction, and relicensed research reactors. And industry gets to influence the training of its future workforce.
Faculty My legislation includes a number of provisions to support the backbone of America's university nuclear science and engineering programsits faculty.
This bill aims to attractbut more importantly, retainthe best and brightest faculty to nuclear science and engineering.
This is accomplished by targeting grants at new university faculty during the first five years of their career through a Junior Faculty Research Initiation Grant Program. This program, patterned after successful NSF programs, provides essential support during those critical first years of teaching and research that either make or break new faculty.
For the benefit of all faculty, this legislation directs the DOE ,to develop a program that facilitates interaction between America's universities and national laboratories. The Secretary of Energy is instructed to develop a sabbatical fellowship program that allows university faculty to spend extended periods of time at DOE laboratories engaged in nuclear science and technology research. Inversely, the Secretary of Energy is tasked with developing a visiting scientist program in which laboratory staff spend time with faculty and students in academic nuclear science and engineering departments.
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Critical to the success of both students and faculty is a well-maintained research reactor. With that in mind, this legislation increases funding for refueling and upgrading research reactor instrumentation, and allows faculty to include reactor operations, maintenance, and improvements in their applications for research and training awards.
However, funding used for these purposes must emphasize research,-training, and education, and supplementnot replaceuniversity support for reactor operations.
Using federal funding in these ways will help offset some of the high costs inherently associated with operating a research reactor, and improve the quality and longevity of America's university research reactors by enabling researchers to perform new experiments.
This bill does more than just increase support for the fundamental, basic nuclear research currently funded through the Nuclear Engineering Education Research Program. It requires the DOE to broaden participation in the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative and the applied research it supports. Such research will benefit from industry, university, and national laboratory collaboration.
Page 376 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 That's what the bill does. But let me say in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, that this legislation is important not only to a handful of American universities, but to our national labs, our industry, our navy, our national security, and those engaged in lifesaving medical research involving radiation.
The Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act ensures that America continues to realize the benefits of a competent, well-trained, highly skilled nuclear workforce. More important, this bill is critical if we are to maintain America's standing as number one in the world in the area of nuclear science and engineering.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to testify today.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much for your testimony, and as I had indicated earlier, your full written testimony will be, without objection, included as a part of the record.
Mrs. Biggert, in, essentially, every one of our technical areas, we are failing to train enough scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Thank you very much for your emphasis in this very critical area which relates to our energy future.
Thank you both very much for being with us. Let me ask my colleague if she has any questions or comments before you leave.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to thank them both for coming and for being so clear with us. Thank you very much.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. We will excuse you and the other panel members will please take their seats.
I want to thank the members of this second panel. Mr. Colvin, we will begin with your testimony.
STATEMENT OF JOE F. COLVIN, PRESIDENT, NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Mr. COLVIN. It is a pleasure, Mr. Chairman, and good morningit is still good morningRanking Member Woolsey, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, I am Joe Colvin, the President and Chief Executive Office of the Nuclear Energy Institute, and I represent the more than 275 corporations, both international and domestic, involved in nuclear energy and the related technologies, including the 33 major companies that operate our Nation's 103 commercial reactors operating in 31 states.
Today, I would like to focus on three points. (1) The U.S. Nuclear Energy Program, its role in the world, its role in the United States, and in our energy future. Secondly, the key provisions of the Graham-Stenholm and Biggert-Baldwin bills. And third, future considerations for your Subcommittee regarding nuclear energy.
With our country's growing demand for more electricity, the challenge before us is to provide more cost-effective emission-free power to fuel our economy and our economic growth. The DOE's Energy Information Agency projects a need for about 400,000 megawatts of new and replacement capacity. If we assume in the growth rate in electricity the amount of 1.8 percent, a 2.5 percent growth rate, which is closer to the actual growth rate we have experienced over the past decade, we will need over 56,000 megawatts of new generation.
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Clearly, we need to leverage all of our resources to meet this important need. We need to not only build new power plants, we need to increase our efforts on conservation energy efficiency and renewable technologies.
The United States is the world leader in nuclear energy, operating 103 reactors and generating about 1/3 of the world's nuclear electricity. The U.S. program is larger than those of in France and Japan combined and those of the countries with the next largest nuclear program. The world looks at the United States for technological leadership in nuclear energy and will do so in the future with the type of leadership that we see here today and with the legislation that we are talking about.
Our Nation's 103 nuclear power plants provide 20 percent of our Nation's electricity. They provide that electricity safely, reliably, competitively, and most importantly, without emissions of greenhouse gasses to the environment. We have made dramatic improvements in efficiency over the last decade in these plants while maintaining high levels of safety. And in fact, we have added about 22the equivalent of 22 1,000-megawatt reactors to the grid, and we believe we can further increase this efficiency through plant upgrades and even greater operational procedures. In fact, the power production increase that we have seen over this past decade has met 22 percent of our national growth in electricity demand during that period.
Nuclear energy is also an important component of our national energy security, and security against disruption of our energy supply. Our plants provide a mainstay of our U.S. transmission grid. They can operate at full capacity for more than 18 months without refueling, and are far less susceptible to disruptions by weather than other electricity sources.
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As I mentioned earlier, nuclear energy provides large amounts of electricity with minimal impact on the environment. Currently, 30 percent of our electricity generation in the United States in emission-free and nuclear energy provides h of that generation. It is the only large expandable source of electricity that maintains our air quality. In fact, nuclear power plants, as this slide shows, are responsible for the largest share of voluntary carbon reductions under DOE's carbon reduction program.
Mr. Chairman, I applaud the legislation introduced by both Representatives Graham and Stenholm and Representatives Biggert and Baldwin. This legislation, these pieces of legislation, contain key provisions that will preserve the benefits of today's nuclear energy programs and lay the groundwork for tomorrow's plants, and my written testimony provides more details on that activity.
Mr. Chairman, I think from the critical role nuclear energy provides to America today, I would urge your Subcommittee to explore additional measures regarding this critical resource. In particular, I would urge you to consider the following. First, directing the Department of Energy to assess nuclear energy's potential to improve air quality so that it is fully valued for its contributions. Secondly, assuring that we apply the best science possible to provide a deep geologic repository for used nuclear fuel. Third, help to establish science-based uniform standards for radiation protection, and do that under the agency of a singleunder the oversight of a single Federal agency.
It is clear that this legislation, and this activity, and initiative by the Congress is necessary, and I would urge you to consider this to be a high priority of your Committee. Lastly, we would encourage you to support additional funding for the Department of Energy to study means to bringing new plants on line efficiently and effectively to meet our growing energy needs.
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In summary, Mr. Chairman, nuclear energy is our country's only expandable source of large based load emission-free electricity. It merits your serious contention in view of its safety record, performance record, environmental benefits, and the ability to provide stable prices in today's volatile electricity market. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Colvin follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOE F. COLVIN
Chairman Bartlett, Ranking Member Woolsey and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, I am Joe Colvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Washington, D.C.-based policy organization for the nuclear energy industry.
NEI coordinates industry policy on issues affecting the nuclear energy industry, which includes 103 commercial nuclear power plants operating in 31 states. NEI represents 275 companies, including every U.S. utility licensed to operate a commercial nuclear reactor, industry suppliers, fuel fabrication facilities, architectural and engineering firms, labor unions and law firms, research laboratories, universities and international nuclear organizations.
I am pleased to testify before this committee regarding two important pieces of legislationone introduced by Reps. Lindsey Graham and Charles Stenholm and the other by Reps. Judy Biggert and Tammy Baldwin. These two bills recognize the important role of nuclear energy in the electricity marketplace and help build a solid foundation for the future of an energy resource critical to the electricity needs of this country.
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Nuclear energy is essential to meeting growing U.S. energy demand today and in the future. The Energy Information Agency anticipates a 1.8 percent electricity growth rate through the next two decades, requiring the addition of 400,000 megawatts of new electricity capacity. This projection for the growth of demand is actually slower than the 2.2 percent annual growth in electricity demand that has occurred over the past 10 years.
Clearly, effective conservation and efficiency programs and the use of all available energy production resources will be needed to meet this electricity demand and to preserve the clean air contributions that our non-emitting energy resources now provide.
With nuclear energy, we can both meet future electricity demand and protect our environment. Nuclear energy provides 20 percent of America's electricity, powering one of every five homes in America. Nuclear energy also plays the most meaningful role in preserving the current 30 percent share of emission-free electricity generation in the United States, providing two-thirds of all emission-free power in 2000.
Without question, there is a renaissance of nuclear energy in the United States. We see clear signs that this renaissance is gaining new recognition in Congressthrough bipartisan legislation introduced this year in the House and Senate, by the Administration in its national energy policy and among the American public. The renaissance is driven by the overwhelming need to maintain our diverse mix of energy generation and to meet the ambitious energy requirements of the future.
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To ensure adequate electricity supplies while maintaining the national commitment to using emission-free energy sources, the nuclear energy industry must maintain a prominent role in meeting our Nation's increasing demand for electricity. One of the most important ways Congress can aid that effort is to support increased research and development in nuclear energy and nuclear technologies.
The industry is entering a new phaseone of developing new plants using advanced, new reactor technologies that could be used uniformly across the Nation to meet increasing electricity demand. As we enter this dynamic new era, it is critical that we do so on the safe foundation that only a strong R&D base can provide.
Congress this year has introduced landmark legislation to not only provide a strong R&D base for nuclear energy, but also to continue nuclear energy's contribution to the electricity market. Bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Lindsey Graham and Charles Stenholm and Reps. Judy Biggert and Tammy Baldwinwith bipartisan sponsorshipwill help promote the conditions needed for investment in, and continued growth of, nuclear energy. We are optimistic there is broad support for this bipartisan legislation.
KEY PROVISIONS OF THESE TWO BILLS
These bills would:
Pave the way for new nuclear plant construction, based on a new reactor technology. The supply shortfalls in the West have demonstrated that we must build new power plants, including nuclear power plants, as well as the transmission infrastructure to move new electricity supplies to consumers.
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Continue regulatory modernization, including regulatory stability, timely license renewals for operating nuclear plants and predictable time frames for licensing new plants.
Designate nuclear energy as an environmentally preferable energy resource and prohibit the federal government from discriminating against it in purchasing decisions.
Establish an Office of Spent Nuclear Fuel Research at DOE to develop a national used nuclear fuel strategy and to conduct research.
Renew the Price-Anderson Act. The law continues the framework for the nuclear industry-financed insurance program to protect American citizens from any possible financial impact in the unlikely event such funds should become necessary.
Encourage young professionals who will guide the development and use of nuclear technologies into the future. The Energy Secretary, acting through the office of Nuclear Science and Technology, is instructed to support student fellowships, university and research reactor operation, educational interactions of college students, and degree programs, and to allocate funding to bolster educational opportunities for our young generation of nuclear specialists.
RECORD PERFORMANCE OF AMERICA'S NUCLEAR ENERGY INDUSTRY
We believe that it is the incredible record of safety and performance of America's nuclear energy industry that has led to the legislation being considered by this Subcommittee, as well by companion legislation in the Senate.
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Companies that operate nuclear power plants have made significant improvements in the performance of their plants. Capacity factors at nuclear power plants averaged 65 percent in the 1990s, meaning that nuclear plants were producing about 65 percent of the power they were capable of producing if operating around the clock for the entire year. After steady improvement during the 1990s, the industry average capacity factor stands at a record 90 percent.
The increase in electricity generation during the past 10 years at nuclear power plants is comparable to adding 22 1,000-megawatt nuclear plants to the Nation's power grid. Most importantly, safety performance also has improved dramatically as shown by performance indicators tracked both by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the World Association of Nuclear Operators.
Nuclear energy generates electricity at the lowest cost in the Nation (other than small amounts of hydroelectric generation). Production costs at nuclear plants averaged 1.83 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1999, according to the Utility Data Institute. For the first time since 1987, production costs at nuclear power plants were lower than coal-fired power plants (2.07 cents per kilowatt-hour). Costs at nuclear power plants were also substantially lower than natural gas (3.52 cents per kilowatt-hour), even before the price spikes in natural gas during the past year and a half. The combination of stable, low energy costs for the future and outstanding reliability of nuclear power plants is extremely attractive to the business community, particularly the high-tech sector.
Page 385 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 NUCLEAR ENERGY: EFFICIENT AND CLEAN
In addition to being the low-cost leaders in the electricity industry, nuclear power plants are essential to keeping our air clean.
Nuclear energy generates electricity without producing greenhouse gases or other air pollutants, providing Americans with tremendous environmental and health benefits. Without nuclear energy, many regions of the United States could not meet air quality standards established by the Clean Air Act or international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. Nuclear energy contributes significant health benefits to people across the Nation through the reduction of air pollutants or the avoidance of emissions.
Reports last year from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration made a direct connection between increased production from nuclear plants and the fact that greenhouse gases and other emissions increased less than they otherwise would have. The United States simply cannot meet the broad spectrum of clean air requirements unless it uses nuclear energy for a substantial proportion of its electricity generation.
To meet more stringent Clean Air Act requirements and effectively manage carbon risk in the future, the United States must increase its percentage of non-emitting sources of electricitysuch as nuclear energy, solar, hydro and windabove the current baseline of 30 percent. Of these electricity production technologies, nuclear energy generates two-thirds of all emission-free electricity today, and is the only expandable, large-scale electricity source that avoids emissions and can meet the baseload energy demands of a growing, modern economy.
Page 386 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY GROWS
Protecting our air quality and our environment and improving our energy security are among the reasons why two out of three Americans favor nuclear energy as one way to generate electricity.
Another reason for the steady support for nuclear energy is that the public views nuclear energy as a fuel of the future. There is broad public support for the continued operation of nuclear power plants (76 percent) as well as for maintaining the option to build more nuclear power plants in the future (73 percent).
A March 2001 national survey by Bisconti Research Inc. and Bruskin Research shows a dramatic increase in support among the public for building more nuclear power plants. Sixty-six percent of those polled said that the United States should ''definitely'' build more nuclear power plants in the futurecompared with 42 percent in October 1999.(see footnote 46)
The increase in favorability for building new nuclear plants was largest in the West, where those in favor increased from 33 percent in October 1999 to 62 percent in the March survey. In May, the Field poll in California revealed that 60 percent of the state's residents favor building new nuclear plants. Clearly, the increasing cost of electricity throughout the Nation in recent months has impressed upon the public the need for increasing safe, cost-effective electricity supplies, such as nuclear.
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CONSOLIDATION BRINGS NEW OPPORTUNITIES
More and more, we see the business community responding to the benefits of nuclear energy to society, while also realizing that production of electricity at nuclear power plants is simply good business.
Consolidation within the industry is resulting in fewer and larger nuclear operators with far greater nuclear management focus and expertise. Companies with a core nuclear energy business can achieve economies of scale through purchasing, better management of financial risk and pooling talent and expertise in financial and technical areas.
Five years ago, 46 companies operated the Nation's 103 nuclear plants. Today 33 companies provide even higher levels of safe and reliable performance at lower costs than ever before.
THE NUCLEAR ENERGY INDUSTRY LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
Clearly, the Nation must begin now to plan for our energy needs for generations to come. The administration's National Energy Policyas well as several bills introduced in Congress this yearunderscore the need for, and commitment to, a comprehensive U.S. energy policy that provides our future electricity needs in a way that protects the environment.
We simply cannot meet the demands of our growing population and economy without building new power plants and relicensing current nuclear power plants. As companies plan to meet our growing electricity needs, they must maintain or increase the proportion of non-emitting baseload electric capacity through the construction of nuclear, hydroelectric and renewable plants. This will maintain a diverse energy portfolio and affordable prices for consumers.
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More than ever, the Nation relies on nuclear energy to meet the country's soaring demand for power. There is no longer any question that nuclear energy playsand will continue to playa critical role in providing electricity to the Nation, and I want to applaud Reps. Graham, Stenholm, Biggert and Baldwin, and the distinguished members of this subcommittee for their leadership and foresight in supporting nuclear energy.
LICENSE RENEWALEXTENDING VALUE
The average nuclear plant operating today is only about 18 years old, far from the expiration of its original 40-year operating period established in Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses. The 40-year license term reflects both the amortization period generally used by electric utility companies for large capital investments and the licensing approach used for radio stations. However, as some of the plants built in the 1970s approach the end of their original license periods, the industry has realized they can generate electricity safely much longer than their original 40-year license.
As computer systems, instrumentation and other technology have advanced, whole systems have been replaced in today's nuclear power plants. In many ways, today's operating plants are virtually new, and they are safer and more efficient than ever. The fact that plants are now undertakingand receivinglicense renewals proves it.
Five U.S. reactors already have been approved for 20-year license renewals, nine other units have filed renewal applications, and 29 others have announced their intentions to apply for license renewal over the next few years. In addition, we expect that most operators of the Nation's 103 reactors will eventually apply for license renewal.
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GREATER REGULATORY CERTAINTY FOR NEW PLANTS
As the country moves toward a more competitive electricity market, greater certainty in regulatory processes increases the ability of nuclear plants to provide competitive power. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 authorized these new, improved regulatory approaches.
The Act authorized the option to certify reactor designs before construction begins, thereby eliminating costly design changes while a plant is under construction and allowing for standardization and greater economies of scale. To date, three reactor designs have been certified.
A great deal of work has already been done to design and obtain regulatory approval of new advanced reactor designs that are safer and simpler than today's operating plants. Simpler generally means safer. It also means they will be more competitive in both construction and operating costs.
Also under the 1992 Act, Congress revamped the NRC licensing process for new nuclear power plants, developing a streamlined licensing process so plants can begin producing electricity once they are built according to a pre-certified design. The new licensing process allows for the issuance of a combined construction permit and an operating license.
When today's operating plants were built, a construction permit was issued after much review. Another review was required before an operating license could be issued, often resulting in years of additional delay and accumulating costs. In the 1970s and 1980s, when many of today's plants went through the licensing process, interest rates were 17 or 18 percent. A delay of three years, which was not uncommon, could easily double the price of the plant.
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The NRC's licensing process for new nuclear plants will ensure that safety, design and site-related issues are resolved before large capital investments are made.
With advanced reactor designs, the improved NRC licensing process, the construction time and resulting cost of a new nuclear plant will be better known. That translates to higher safety and less financial risk, imperative in today's deregulated power marketplace. It can be done and is well on the way to reality. Your support as policymakers has been, and remains, critical.
The industry is working now to set the stage for construction of new advanced design nuclear plants that will have more automatic safety systems and will be even more reliable and economical.
The NRC already has certified three such designs. Two units using a design by General Electric have been built and are setting world-class performance records in Japan, while others of this design are under construction in Japan and Taiwan. A variation of another certified design is being developed in Korea.
There are two additional reactor designs that are being studied for possible future use. The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor is currently undergoing feasibility studies in South Africa, and Westinghouse is determining whether to proceed with formal NRC review of its AP1000 concept.
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Beyond advanced reactor designs, industry executives have come togethercontributing personnel, funding and guidanceto develop a plan that will mark a clear path for new nuclear plant orders. This plan for the future considers safety standards and objectives; NRC licensing requirements; policy and legislative implications; capital investment needs and changing business conditions.
USED FUEL MANAGEMENT: SOUND SCIENCE SUPPORTS YUCCA MOUNTAIN AS REPOSITORY LOCATION
Regardless of the degree of new plant construction, effective management of used fuel will remain a critical issue. The industry safely manages used nuclear fuel today at nuclear power plant sites. There has never been any health or environmental impact to the public from fuel management. However, the federal government has a legal obligation to centralize all used nuclear fuel at an underground repositorywhere it can be more safely and efficiently managed.
Federal legislation mandates a centralized geologic repository for long-term stewardship of used fuel from nuclear power plants and the radioactive byproducts of the federal government's nuclear programs. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 and its 1987 amendments require the U.S. Department of Energy to locate, build and operate a deep, mined geologic repository for used nuclear fuel. To pay for the permanent repository, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act established the federal Nuclear Waste Fund. Since 1983, consumers of electricity generated at nuclear power plants have paid a tax of one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour of electricity they use into the fund, which now totals more than $17 billion.
Page 392 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 More than $4 billion from the Nuclear Waste Fund has been used for scientific and engineering studies at Yucca Mountain, located in the Nevada desert adjacent to the federal Nuclear Test Site. Based on scientific information gathered from several sites, Congress in 1987 selected Yucca Mountain as the location for further study to determine if the desert ridge is a suitable location for the federally operated underground repository. And the industry expects that the Energy Department will forward a science-based recommendation on the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a repository site to President Bush this year. President Bush then will make a formal decision on whether to build a repository at that site.
We urge the committee to consider measures aimed at applying the best science available to arrive at a sound decision on the suitability of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository.
We also believe federal radiation protection is important and that standards based on the best available science should be applied equitably and consistently by every federal agency across all programs. However, duplicative and conflicting regulation by different agencies, using different criteria, has been established at nuclear sites across the country. Last year, a report from the General Accounting Office (Radiation Standards: Scientific Basis Inconclusive, and the EPA and NRC Disagreement Continues) concluded that U.S. radiation protection standards ''lack a conclusively verified scientific basis'' and ''raise questions of inefficient, conflicting' dual regulation.''
A troubling conclusion of the GAO report is that the costs related to complying with such standards ''will be immense, likely in the hundreds of billions of dollars'' of private and public funds. This situation has persisted for years, without any substantial progress made toward resolution. Congress should resolve the policy issues that the agencies have not resolved on their own.
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OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE SCIENCE COMMITTEE
In view of nuclear energy's contribution, and in consideration of the Bush administration energy policy, other measures not fully explored by the Graham/Stenholm and Biggert/Baldwin bills are worthy of committee review. We recommend the committee also consider:
Directing DOE to assess the potential of nuclear energy to improve air quality and to explore approaches that would provide fair recognition for its non-emitting and pollution avoidance capabilities;
Applying the best science to provide a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste;
Providing a sound science policy on radiation across all levels of government and the entire industrial spectrum;
Supporting additional funding for DOE to pursue research and development programs aimed at bringing new plants online;
Collaborating with international partners regarding reprocessing and fuel treatment technologies; and
Re-examining U.S. policies to allow for research, development and deployment of fuel conditioning methods as a complement to the repository program. Farsighted research and development programs allow our Nation to remain the world leader in nuclear technologies. However, it is important to note that even technologies like transmutationthe conversion of used nuclear fuel into less toxic materialsrequire a repository for disposal of the radioactive byproducts generated from the process.
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The industry has a clear sense of what must be done to preserve nuclear energy's emission-free contribution for generations to come. Fair market treatment and equitable, science-based policies are needed to realize the full potential of this energy source.
Nuclear energy is the only large source of electricity that is both emission free and readily expandable. Its safety record, reliability, cost effectiveness and price stability make nuclear energy a vital fuel for the future. That is clear from the current U.S. energy situation, which is marked by thinning capacity margins and volatile prices for fossil fuels.
As electricity demand continues to rise in the future, nuclear energy will be even more important to American consumers. Nuclear energy, providing reliable baseload power 24 hours a day, seven days a week is also non-polluting and environmentally friendly in many other ways, including providing habitats for endangered species.
Measures such as conservation and energy efficiency are necessary, but not sufficient to ensure that our Nation has the electricity to improve both our economy and our quality of life. We must begin now to build new power plants, and we must take advantage of all of the fuel sources to power these plants. Diversity of electricity supply has long been a hallmark of our energy portfolio, and we must maintain this important balance of fuels in the future.
The industry is committed to working with the members of this subcommittee and all of Congress to provide a long-term national policy for our energy and environmental future.
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BIOGRAPHY FOR JOE F. COLVIN
Joe Colvin is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the nuclear energy industry's Washington-based policy organization, representing nearly 300 domestic and international corporations involved in nuclear energy and related technologies. Mr. Colvin assumed his current position in July 1996. He was elected President and Chief Operating Officer in March 1996 after serving two years as the Institute's Executive Vice President.
Prior to joining NEI, Mr. Colvin was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Management and Resources Council (NUMARC), one of NEI's predecessor organizations. NUMARC was created in 1987 to manage generic technical and regulatory matters for the nuclear power industry.
From 1980 to 1987, Mr. Colvin held several senior management positions with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) in Atlanta, Georgia. Before joining INPO, Mr. Colvin served 20 years in the United States Navy as a nuclear submarine officer.
Mr. Colvin currently serves on the Board of Directors of Cameco Corporation, an international uranium and gold mining company and a number of energy-related groups. He is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Association Committee of 100, the Heritage Foundation's President's Club, the Trade Association Liaison Council (TALC) and Women In Nuclear (WIN). Mr. Colvin served on the Bush Administration's Energy Transition Team.
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Mr. Colvin holds a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, with honors, from the University of New Mexico, has completed advanced studies in nuclear engineering, and is a graduate of Harvard University's Advanced Management Program. He is a registered professional engineer.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Magwood.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM D. MAGWOOD, IV, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Mr. MAGWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding today's hearing, and thank you, also, Ms. Woolsey. I am Bill Magwood. I am Director of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology; I would like to thank the Subcommittee for discussing this important legislation today; particularly, H.R. 1679 and H.R. 2126, and I really appreciate the efforts of Mrs. Biggert and Mr. Graham in bringing this legislation before Congress. I would also like to congratulate you on pulling together such a fine panel. I know all these people personally and like all of them, even when we don't always agree.
I am pleased to tell you that weby the way, I have submitted a written statement for the record, and I would like to summarize my remarks. This legislation represents the first major nuclear legislation since the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 1992. Although the primary focus of my testimony is on the research and development aspects of this legislation, we would like to express our general support for legislation that does help implement the President's National Energy Policy, and I look forward to working with the Subcommittee as we set our priorities for the future.
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As a reliable, safe, and economic source of electricity for our Nation, nuclear energy is a key element of our energy portfolio, accounting for 20 percent of all electricity generation in this country. Nuclear energy remains the largest source of emission-free electricity in the United States, and for the first time in over a decade, it is the lowest cost energy producer in the country. Today, we expect nearly all of the Nation's 103 nuclear power plants to apply for a license extension to operate for an additional 20 years.
As we face rapidly increasing prices for energy, concerns about pollution, the Nation's utilities are demonstrating a renewed interest in the nuclear option as a viable alternative for producing new electricity in the future. For the first time since 1970, utilities are now actively engaged in developing the business cases for specific nuclear power plant projects in the United States over the next few years. Vice President Cheney said it best when speaking of the Administration's National Energy Policy before Mr. Colvin's Nuclear Energy Assembly on May 22. He said, that ''nuclear power is a very important part of our energy policy today in the United States'' and ''continued advancements in the nuclear energy industry are vital to the Nation's economic and environmental future.'' However, if we are to see sustainable nuclear energy systems in the long-term, both industry and Government must take action. Industry must bear the responsibility for deployment operation of nuclear technologies and Government should provide a supportive policy and regulatory framework for nuclear energy, adopting policies that encourage greater output from existing plants and remove barriers to expand the use of nuclear power, including providing efficient and effective regulation, conducting higher risk research that is beyond the planning horizon of industry, and assuring thatcontinuing the Price-Anderson Act, by the way. Where possible, Government should maximize Federal investment through cost-sharing approach of the industry, greater collaboration, and through cooperation of international partners.
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Over the lasts three years, my office has reformed its nuclear R&D portfolio. With Congress' help, we will successfully launch new nuclear energy research activities that will lay the groundwork for the future, including the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative, which by the way, has some research that investigates generating hydrogen from nuclear power, which we find very interesting.
For the near term, we are working with industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to resolve technical and regulatory issues in order to enable new plants to be built in the United States before the end of the decade. For the longer term, we are developing the Generation IV Technology Roadmap, which will identify the most promising next generation nuclear energy system concepts for the future, and also, the research that must be conducted to bring it to reality. This roadmap, which is highlighted in H.R. 1679, has become a large international project with over 100 experts from ten countries working on many technical working groups.
I would like to close by noting that H.R. 2126 does deal with a very important aspect of the future, nuclear energy, and that is the future of our education infrastructure. We are very concerned with the state of our infrastructure. By the way, Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out that I do have three summer interns who are working with our office. Maybe they can stand up very quickly and identify themselves. And I am very proud to have young people working with us. Again, it has been a while since we had summer interns.
We are concerned, however, that there is not enough money being spent to sustain the nuclear engineering programs in this country and not enough resources are available for the research reactors operated by many universities. In fact, Mr. Chairman, some of the most important research reactors in the country, including those at MIT and University of Michigan, are in danger of closing. Cornell just recently announced that it will close its research reactor, something we are very concerned about. H.R. 2126 would address many of these problems and we support it.
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I appreciate the overall support for nuclear energy expressed by the introduction of this legislation and look forward to working with you. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Magwood follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF WILLIAM D. MAGWOOD, IV
Mr. Chairman, I am William D. Magwood, IV, Director of the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology. I would like to thank the Subcommittee for the opportunity to discuss the nuclear energy research and development provisions contained in H.R. 1679, Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001 and H.R. 2126, the Department of Energy University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act. The latter is the companion bill to S. 242, introduced by Representative Judy Biggert this week. I am pleased to appear today to discuss legislation that promotes the expanded use of nuclear energy in the United States and that seeks to strengthen the Nation's nuclear science and technology education infrastructure.
As a reliable, safe, and economic source of electricity for our Nation, nuclear energy is a key element of our energy portfolio, accounting for 20 percent of all electricity generation. Nuclear energy remains the largest source of emission-free electricity in the United States and for the first time in over a decade, it surpassed coal-fired plants as the leader in low-cost energy production. Today, we expect most, if not all, of the Nation's 103 existing nuclear power plants to extend their operating licenses another 20 years. As we face rapidly rising natural gas prices, concerns about refinery and pipeline capacities, and growing concerns about air pollution, the Nation's utilities are demonstrating a renewed interest in the nuclear option as a viable alternative for new generating capacity in the United States. Vice President Cheney said it best when speaking of the Administration's National Energy Policy before the Nuclear Energy Assembly on May 22, 2001:
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''nuclear power is a very important part of our energy policy today in the United States,'' ''. . .continued advancements in the nuclear energy industry are vital to the Nation's economic and environmental future.''
Nuclear energy is a key part of the Administration's strategy to increase domestic production, reduce dependence on imports of supply, manage environmental impacts of energy use, and protect our economy and our national security. Nuclear energy, as a highly reliable and affordable energy source, provides energy security today and is an important option for affordable, plentiful, and environmentally sustainable energy in the future.
The legislation introduced and under discussion today, represents the first major nuclear energy legislation since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Although the primary focus of my testimony is on the research and development provisions and the nuclear educational initiatives of the legislation within the jurisdiction of this Subcommittee, I would like to express our general support for legislation such as this that sets a direction to implement our new National Energy Policy. We look forward to working with this Subcommittee as we set our priorities for the future.
H.R. 1679 promotes expanded use of nuclear energy as a major component of the Nation's energy strategy and establishes provisions to facilitate the production of more electricity from the Nation's nuclear power plants while encouraging planning for the construction of new advanced nuclear power plants. Also, the legislation addresses challenges to the overall nuclear fuel cycle, including provisions to ensure domestic supply of uranium, conversion, and enrichment as well as investigation of technologies that can reduce the toxicity and quantity of high level radioactive waste requiring geologic disposal.
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H.R. 1679 also includes provisions that establish a supportive nuclear energy policy and regulatory framework, supporting NRC's efforts to transition to risk-informed regulations and fund research supporting regulation of new reactor designs. In addition, the bill addresses the renewal of the Price-Anderson Act and clarification that the funds set aside for eventual decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of nuclear plants will not be taxed with the purchase of nuclear units.
In particular, Price-Anderson renewal and the D&D fund tax provisions are legislative actions that were recommended in the National Energy Policy and are important to enabling the extended operations of the Nation's existing nuclear plants and to the deployment of plants in the future. Both Secretary Abraham and the DOE's Deputy General Counsel have testified before the 107th Congress in support of renewal of Price-Anderson Act and have offered detailed comments on this bill as well as similar provisions in other bills that are under legislative consideration.
Finally, the Administration supports the objectives of H.R. 2126. Over the last decade, the Nation's nuclear science and technology education infrastructure has declined in the United States, with universities ending their nuclear engineering programs and closing critical research facilities. Implicit in the National Energy Policy is the need for a qualified and trained nuclear science and engineering workforce. We strongly believe that our ability to respond to the energy supply, environmental and medical challenges over the next several decades will hinge on the investments we make today both in terms of research and development and in terms of efforts to sustain and enhance the critical educational infrastructure needed to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers.
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Retrospective on Federal Nuclear R&D
Beginning in the 1940's and extending through the 1980's, the United States led the world in the first generation of commercial nuclear energy. The Government initiated development of nuclear energy technology, constructed and operated prototype nuclear power plants, shared the initial deployment risk with industry, and developed a policy framework that allowed industry to commercialize this technology. Through President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace initiative, the United States shared this technology with other countries in exchange for the commitment not to develop nuclear weapons. This has been a success story for the country, with 20 percent of our electricity coming from 103 highly efficient nuclear plants and with all but four countries having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In the early 1990's, the Department of Energy cooperated with industry to develop advanced light water reactors to meet energy needs early in the 21st Century. This resulted in the certification of three advanced light water reactor designs which are available to the domestic and international markets today.
Recognizing that reactors of this type extract only about 1 percent of the energy content of uranium, the United States was also developing sodium-cooled ''fast'' spectrum reactors that use uranium far more efficiently and could provide a long-term sustainable nuclear energy resource. The United States was also developing fuel recycling technologies that could reduce the nuclear waste burden and the threat of proliferation.
However, by 1998, all of these nuclear energy research and development programs had been terminated and policies were enacted that discouraged the use of nuclear energy or placed it at a competitive disadvantage. As you know, the Vice President's policy group has recommended that the Nation reexamine those policies within the context of advanced generation reactor and fuel cycle technologies, to allow the research, development and deployment of technologies that reduce waste streams and enhance proliferation resistance. In essence, the recommendations to the President are to examine technologies for optimizing or closing the overall nuclear fuel cycle. These recommendations are very much in agreement with the urgings of much of the nuclear technology community and our international research partners.
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Over the last several years, with the tightening of electricity supply, the future of nuclear is brighter than at any time over the last three decades. There is broader public acceptance of nuclear energy as an important energy source to our Nation's electricity supply. For the last several years, existing nuclear plants have operated at peak performance, setting availability and performance and safety records.
If we are to see sustainable nuclear energy systems in the long-term, both industry and Government must take action. Industry must bear the responsibility for deployment and operation of nuclear technologies. Government should promote a supportive policy and regulatory framework for nuclear energy, adopting policies that encourage greater output from existing plants and that remove barriers to expanded use of nuclear power, including providing efficient and effective regulation, and conducting higher risk research that is beyond the planning horizon of industry. Where possible, government should maximize Federal investment through cost-sharing approaches with industry, greater collaboration, and through cooperation with our international partners.
Over the last three years, my office has reformed its nuclear energy R&D portfolio. With Congress' help, we successfully launched the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative, the Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization program, and initiatives to explore Generation IV advanced reactor and fuel cycle technologies.
We are working with industry to develop advanced technologies that are beyond the scope of R&D funded by industry alone to enhance the reliability, efficiency and safety of current plants as they operate for the long term. We are working with industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to resolve technical and regulatory issues in order to enable new plants to be built in the United States before the end of the decade. We are also funding advanced research to address the very long-term issues associated with expanded use of nuclear energy.
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Through our Generation IV initiative, we are developing a technology roadmap to evaluate a variety of advanced nuclear energy system concepts and to define the needed research activities for the most promising concepts. This roadmap, which is highlighted in H.R. 1679, has become a large international project involving over 100 experts from 10 countries working on many technical working groups. We have established an international collective, the Generation IV International Forum, or GIF, through which the United States and other nuclear-experienced nations will be able to work together to set the goals, establish the programs, and collaborate in the research that will lead to next-generation nuclear energy systems. The activities of the GIF are proceeding and I expect we will soon sign a Generation IV charter with the international community, providing the framework for international cooperation in research and development for the next generation of nuclear energy systems.
My office also conducts a wide range of other advanced nuclear technology activities that are not related to energy generation. For example, under our Advanced Nuclear Medicine Initiative, we are conducting exciting new research to find treatments for cancer using medical isotopes and supplying a wide range of isotopes to researchers in the United States. NE conducts the research and builds the energy systems that power NASA's space missions that go beyond Earth's orbit.
Finally, we are responsible for the Department's nuclear technology infrastructure, which like the university educational infrastructure addressed in H.R. 2126, is critically important to research needed to support the expanded use of nuclear energy. Federal investments in these technologies will be critical in order for the American people to continue to realize the benefits of these technologies.
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The remainder of my testimony provides a brief summary of our research initiatives, our nuclear science and technology educational initiatives within the context of this legislation considered today, including the current status of the programs and their current funding levels in relation to proposed future investments.
Nuclear Energy Research Initiative
The Nation will need nearly 400,000 megawatts of new electrical generating capacity to meet projected demand over the next 20 years and to offset power plant closings, according to the Energy Information Agency. This capacity is equivalent to building about 40 new mid-size power plants every year for the next 20 years. Americans have come to expect access to energy that is affordable, plentiful, and environmentally sustainable. Clearly, in order to meet a national mandate of this magnitude, nuclear energy must be a part of a balanced supply portfolio.
In 1999, the Department launched the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERD, as a competitive, peer-reviewed research and development program to fund researcher-initiated R&D technology. The goals of NERI are to develop revolutionary advanced concepts and scientific breakthroughs in nuclear fission and reactor technology to address scientific and technical barriers to the long-term use of nuclear energy; advance the state of nuclear technology to maintain a competitive position in overseas and future domestic markets; and promote and maintain the nuclear science and engineering infrastructure to meet future technical challenges. The program is managed to promote collaboration among United States research institutions and information exchange with international organizations. Despite its limited funding, it has gone a long way to reinvigorate nuclear R&D in this country and signal the return of the United States to nuclear R&D.
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Just this month, DOE announced the award of 13 new NERI projects to researchers from eight universities, eight national laboratories, eight private sector organizations, and collaborators from six overseas research organizations. There are 54 other projects initiated in prior years currently underway; two NERI projects have been successfully completedone, on modular construction techniques for nuclear plants and the other on, development of temperature-resistant fuel cladding.
This fiscal year, the Department launched an international version of NERI, the International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (INERI), for innovative scientific and engineering research and development by joint teams of United States and foreign researchers. Established as a cost-shared R&D program, the objectives of the INERI program are to promote bilateral and multilateral collaboration with international agencies and research organizations; improve the development of nuclear energy; and promote and maintain the United States nuclear science and engineering infrastructure to meet future technical challenges. We just signed an agreement with South Korea and expect to complete one with France this month. We also expect to conclude agreements with Japan and South Africa by the end of the year, and we are working on agreements with the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and with Euratom.
Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization
For the last several years, with the demand for electricity at record highs, nuclear plants have generated record amounts of electricitysafely and reliably. The nuclear share of electricity generation in 2000 (almost 23 percent of the total) also set a record. Over the last two years, the amount of additional generation alone is about equal to what would have been needed to meet all of the residential needs of California. One of the most effective ways to increase electricity generating capacity is to obtain more energy from existing nuclear plants.
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To support improved, longer-term reliable and safe operations of these plants, in Fiscal Year 2000, the Department proposed and Congress funded the Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization (NEPO) Program. The primary areas of focus of the NEPO program are on plant aging issues and on approaches to optimize electrical production. The NEPO Program represents a public-private R&D partnership with equal or greater matching funds coming from industry and is conducted in close cooperation with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The research conducted under this program is identified, prioritized, and selected with broad input from utilities, national laboratories, NERAC, and other stakeholders.
Government, industry, and academia face similar challenges today as we seek to preserve the aging but highly developed science and technology infrastructure that the United States has developed over the last 50 years. Preserving the human and research facility infrastructure at our universities and colleges remains key to preparing tomorrow's nuclear scientists and engineers. More trained personnel will be required to ensure an adequate knowledge base for innovation and technological advancement.
For several years, DOE and Congress have provided support to nuclear engineering, science and technology programs at United States universities. This program, funded at about $12 million annually, supports the operation and upgrade of university research reactors, provides fellowships and scholarships to outstanding students, provides matching grants, and sponsors Nuclear Engineering Education Research (NEER) grants. Collectively, these initiatives help maintain domestic capabilities to conduct research and the infrastructure necessary to attract, educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers with expertise in nuclear energy technologies.
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The NEER initiative stimulates innovative research at United States universities, with an infusion of about $5 million annually. This investigator-initiated, peer reviewed research program is vital to attracting and retaining faculty and students in nuclear engineering programs. This year, with well over 100 proposals received from universities, the Department awarded 19 new NEER grants to 14 universities that, with continuation of existing grants, increases the total research projects underway to 50.
Through my office's Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) program, the Department sponsors research, internships at national laboratories, and a fellowship initiative for graduate students who are interested in the highly specialized area of transmutation of waste. About 65 students are or have been involved in these initiatives, with 10 new fellowships just recently awarded. Under our Advanced Nuclear Medicine Initiative, we also sponsor curriculum development in medical isotope technologies. In the future, we hope to sponsor graduate and post-doctoral candidates who are developing nuclear medicine therapies to treat serious illnesses.
University research reactors in the United States form a vital component of the nuclear science and technology and education infrastructure in this country. These facilities are an important source of neutrons supporting research that is critical to national priorities such as health care, materials science, environmental protection, food irradiation, and energy technology. Currently, there are 29 operating research reactors at 27 campuses in 20 states. The Department presently provides about $3.7 million annually for fuel for university reactors and for upgrades to reactor instrumentation and equipment.
In contrast to the growing national need for trained and qualified graduates in nuclear engineering, the last several years has seen a decline in university nuclear engineering programs. Fueled by out-dated impressions about the state and likely future of nuclear energy in this country, some universities have closed their nuclear engineering programs and research reactors. Others facing financial pressures are also considering the closure of their research reactors.
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These research reactors, such as the facilities at MIT and the University of Michigan, are a vital part of the Nation's nuclear science and technology and education infrastructure, supporting research critical to health care, materials science, environmental protection, food irradiation, and energy technology. Another important facility, the Ward Center research reactor at Cornell, was closed even after the President announced the Administration's National Energy Policy. We are very concerned about these developments and the impact that closure could have on the research infrastructure in the United States as well as on our ability to prepare the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers.
Last year, NERAC formed a special task force chaired by Bob Long, former Senior Vice President of GPU Nuclear and former professor at the University of New Mexico. On April 30, 2001, the task force issued their report, recommending that the Department set up a longer-term structure to assure the continued operation of a limited number of nationally significant research reactors.
With respect to the long term future, the task force recommended that the Department put a process in place to establish regional university research reactor user facilities. We will be convening a workshop in a few weeks to explore how best to develop the concept of regional user centers.
The need for Federal Government support for the nuclear engineering, science and technology education infrastructure in the United States has been well documented over the last decade. The recent NERAC task force, a prior Blue Ribbon Panel of the NERAC, the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDO), and the National Organization of Test, Research and Training Reactors (TRTR) have all concluded that it is vital for the government to act now to address the decline of the Nation's nuclear engineering programs, including their vital research facilities. There is broad support in the nuclear industry and within the nuclear university community for H.R. 2126 and its Senate counterpart, S. 242.
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Development of a National Spent Fuel Strategy
The Administration supports provisions of H.R. 1679 that call for the development of a national spent fuel strategy, a strategy that investigates the use of advanced technologies to close the nuclear fuel cycle by 2050 so that the quantity and toxicity of future spent fuel wastes can be reduced by as much as 90 percent. Not only would this improve the ability of a geologic repository to store nuclear waste, but it would enable the world's nuclear fuel supply to last about 1,000 years.
H.R. 1679 calls for research and development to further the availability of electrometallurgical technology as a proliferation resistant alternative to aqueous reprocessing and research into the use of high energy accelerators to reduce toxicity of nuclear waste. As you know, the Vice President's policy group has recommended examining electrometallurgical technology as well as other potential fuel recycle technologies as a means of closing the nuclear fuel cycle.
The Department has considerable experience with electrometallurgical treatment technology and is currently using this technology to treat spent fuel from the Experimental Breeder Reactor II at Idaho to remove hazardous constituents to enable eventual geologic disposal. The Department believes that this, and other advanced reprocessing technologies, should be evaluated for the longer term as a means of reducing the toxicity of the waste and for recycling of fuel through a reactor. While aqueous processes are used extensively today throughout the world, advanced reprocessing technologies have the potential to handle a wide range of fuel forms, can be more proliferation resistant, can be more environmentally friendly and could be lower cost.
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As you know, Department has been investigating the use of high energy accelerators for application to the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle to significantly reduce the radioactive toxicity and quantity of civilian spent nuclear fuel. We have made significant progress this past year refining the technical approach to transmutation of waste and are now analyzing a ''dual tier'' approach for transmutation of spent nuclear fuel that would further optimize the potential waste management gains from recycling.
Under this approach, 95 percent of the nuclear material separated from the spent fuel would be uranium usable in fabricating new fuel or would be disposed of as Class C Low Level Waste. The other five percent would be separated into two parts: plutonium, iodine and technetium and the other long-lived, highly radio-toxic actinides, leaving short lived fission products for geologic disposal. In the first tier, plutonium, along with iodine and technetium, would be transmuted in either existing light water reactors or new advanced reactors and would generate electricity that could potentially offset life cycle costs of the program. In the second tier, the other long-lived radio-toxic actinides could be transmuted in an accelerator driven sub-critical reactor system.
A benefit of this approach could be the more efficient use of the current geologic repository being studied by the Department, even with significant new nuclear plant generating capacity brought online in the future. This approach is favored by many of the countries with which we hope to partner in the future, particularly France.
Page 412 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Nuclear plants can be built small or large, they can be placed near cities or in remote locations. Nuclear power today generates electricity safely and cleanly and I would assert that it is among the greenest of our generating technologies. With proper attention to the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear power can be made a near inexhaustible source of energy, having minimal environmental impact and only small compact volumes of solid waste that can be easily stored and monitored.
We are at a important point in our history, where the investments that are made today can have a significant impact on the Nation's future access to reliable, plentiful and affordable electricity in the future. I appreciate the support for nuclear energy expressed by this legislation and look forward to working with this Subcommittee as we set our research and development priorities for the future.
BIOGRAPHY FOR WILLIAM D. MAGWOOD, IV
William D. Magwood, IV, is the Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology in the U.S. Department of Energy. He was appointed to this position on November 8, 1998.
As the Director of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, Mr. Magwood is the senior nuclear technology official in the United States Government and the senior manager for all of the Office's programs. Under Mr. Magwood's leadership, the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology has led the Nation in a new consideration of nuclear technology as a means to address difficult problems facing the Nation in the 21st Century. The Office has also reasserted a leading role for the United States in the international discussion regarding the future use of nuclear power technology to generate secure supplies of energy without emitting air pollutants that can damage the environment, both regionally and globally.
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Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Magwood served as the Associate Director for Technology and Program Planning in the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology for four years. He also served as the Executive Secretary of the interagency Highly Enriched Uranium Oversight Committee.
From 19841994, Mr. Magwood held technology management positions with two energy-related organizations. He managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute, Washington, DC; and he was a scientist at Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he analyzed radiological and hazardous waste disposal, treatment, and handling systems.
Mr. Magwood holds a B.S. degree in Physics, a B.A. degree in English from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and an M.F.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Mr. Kotek.
STATEMENT OF JOHN F. KOTEK, MANAGER, SPECIAL PROJECTS SECTION, ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY-WEST, IDAHO, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN NUCLEAR SOCIETY
Mr. KOTEK. I guess it is good afternoon now. My name is John Kotek. I am the Co-chairman of the Public Policy Committee of the American Nuclear Society. ANS is a not-for-profit international scientific and technical organization of more than 11,000 professionals in the broad field of nuclear science and technology. It is an honor for me to provide your Committee with the views of ANS on the nuclear energy R&D and nuclear engineering education provisions contained in H.R. 1679 and 2126.
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Now, we are all acutely aware of the energy issues facing America, and California's energy woes have grabbed the most headlines. But electricity shortages and rising prices for oil and natural gas touch almost everyone. For example, in the Idaho town where I live, we have been told to expect a 56 percent increase in the price of electricity over the next 6 months. So it is an issue we are all acutely aware of.
I am sure that the other panelists will or have told the Committee about the record performance that has thrust nuclear energy back into the spotlight as a safe and low cost option for addressing some of our energy issues. Instead of reiterating that impressive record, I would like to take a few minutes to address the concerns that cause some people to believe that we shouldn't expand the use of nuclear energy in the U.S. Now, there are those who believe that nuclear energy is unsafe, unreliable, uneconomic, and generates waste for which there is no safe solution. I would like to discuss these concerns, and explain how they can be resolved, and how the two bills before you today will help.
Now, the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants is, obviously, of the utmost importance to those of us in ANS. Now, some critics will tell you that increasing competition will cause industry to skirt safety rules in an attempt to squeeze more electricity out of their plants. In fact, the industry has learned that safety and reliability, and thus, economic performance, go hand in hand. A quick review of the industry's performance indicators will show what utility executives learned years agothe more safely their plants are run, the more often they run, and the more money they make.
Now, ANS believes that H.R. 1679 will contribute to the safety and reliability of nuclear energy in three principal ways. The first way is by expanding the Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization program, which is helping to further improve the way that existing nuclear power plants run. The second way is by supporting the NERI and Generation IV programs, which will lead to the design of an even safer next generation of nuclear energy systems. The third way is by allowing the NRC to conduct the research necessary to effectively license and oversee the operation of this next generation of plants.
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In both H.R. 1679 and H.R. 2126 will help safety by expanding support for nuclear engineering education to ensure an adequate supply of nuclear trained professionals to both operate and maintain existing plants and to design and build the next generation of nuclear plants. The existing education infrastructure is in dire need of increased Federal support and both of these bills will meet that need.
Now, as for the concern that nuclear power plants are uneconomic, those who cite this concern ignore the fact that once built, nuclear plants have been demonstrated to be among the lowest cost of electricity producers. The major economic issue for nuclear is in the capital costs of new construction. The challenge facing the industry is to design and build new plants at a significantly lower cost than the plants that came on line in the 1980's and 1990's. ANS believes that the economic challenge can be met. For the near term, utilities are performing their own economic analyses to determine if they should build new plants based on available designs such as the Advanced Light Water reactors and the Pebble Bed Modular reactor, or to complete partially constructed plants. Plant vendors are reviewing their designs to determine how they can be simplified and incorporate advanced construction techniques to lower the construction costs.
H.R. 1679 will help these efforts by studying the feasibility of completing partially built plants, by demonstrating untested NRC licensing processes for new plants, and by renewing the Price-Anderson Amendments Act, and by further increasing funding for the NERI program. For the long term, research into the NERI and Generation IV programs could lead to the development of nuclear plants that are less complex, simpler to build and operate, and thus, even more economic than the plants we have now. These next generation plants could also produce clean burning hydrogen and other energy products that improve their economic performance. H.R. 1679 will accelerate these development efforts.
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To the final concern about long-lived nuclear waste, ANS believes that deep geologic disposal is a technically acceptable solution and we urge the Congress and the Administration to move forward with the repository program. As we discuss the topic of nuclear waste, it is important to remember that the natural uranium that is mined from the ground to make nuclear fuel is radioactive to begin with, and so are many other things around us. I read a report the other day that said that the statue of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, located over in the Capitol Building, emits 65 times more radioactivity than could be emitted by the repository under the EPA's proposed standards. So it is an oversimplification to infer that spent fuel is a problem simply because it is radioactive and will remain so for a long time.
As I said earlier, deep geologic disposal is an acceptable way to keep the radioactive constituents in spent fuel from causing harm to humans and the environment. However, technologies are under development that would allow most or all of the long-lived constituents of spent fuel to be recycled for use in advanced nuclear energy systems. Such advancements in nuclear waste management would further reduce the burden on the repository and simply the management of radioactive waste products requiring disposal.
H.R. 1679 will help us develop new approaches to management of spent fuel. Programs supported H.R. 1679, as well as creation of an Office of Spent Nuclear Fuel Research in DOE, will help us explore even better ways of managing spent nuclear fuel.
In conclusion, ANS believes that if nuclear energy is part of our energy policy, cleaner air, a stronger economy, and increased national security will follow. Accordingly, we fully support both H.R. 1679 and H.R. 2126. Thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the American Nuclear Society, and I will be happy to respond to your questions.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Kotek follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN F. KOTEK
My name is John Kotek. I am the Co-Chairman of the Public Policy Committee of the American Nuclear Society (ANS). It is an honor for me to provide your Committee with the views of ANS on nuclear energy legislation that has been introduced in the House.
The American Nuclear Society is a not-for-profit, international, scientific and technical organization with more than 11,000 members representing scientists, engineers, educators, managers and regulators in the broad field of nuclear science and technology. Our membership includes more than 750 students from 32 universities, and approximately 1,000 international members from 40 countries. The Society's membership is geographically distributed in 52 domestic and 9 international local sections and 23 branches at nuclear power plants across the Nation.
The Society's main objective is to promote the advancement of engineering and science related to the atomic nucleus, and of allied sciences and arts. We serve our member's professional needs in their efforts to develop and safely apply nuclear science and technology for the public benefit primarily through technical and knowledge exchange, professional development services, and enhanced public information and understanding of nuclear science and technology matters. We do this through a broad portfolio of technical divisions ranging from reactor physics and mathematics & computation, to nuclear and criticality safety, and operations & power, among others. The Society sponsors national and international technical meetings, publishes Journals, Standards, and the Nuclear News magazine, sponsors scholarships in nuclear science and engineering, and conducts teacher workshops and other public information activities.
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ADDRESSING CONCERNS ABOUT NUCLEAR ENERGY
The release of the Administration's proposed National Energy Policy has propelled nuclear energy back into the spotlight as an option for meeting increasing U.S. energy demands. We owe this newfound appreciation for nuclear power to the fact that nuclear power plants are performing at record levels. The 103 U.S. nuclear power reactors generated over 750 billion kWhrs of electricity in 2000 (about 20 percent of the total U.S. electricity generation) at generation costs that were lower than for coal, and substantially lower than for natural gas and oil.
Despite this exemplary performance, there are opponents to the continued use of nuclear power who believe that nuclear energy is an unsafe, unreliable, and uneconomic technology that generates wastes for which there is no safe solution. I would like to discuss these concerns and explain how they can be resolved and how the two bills which have been introduced will help.
The safety of nuclear power plants is of the utmost importance to ANS. Some will try to tell you that increasing competition will cause industry to skirt safety rules in an attempt to get more and more electricity out of their plants. In fact, the industry has learned that safety and reliability, and thus economic performance, go hand-in-hand.
A quick review of the nuclear industry's performance indicators will show you what utility executives learned years agothe more safely their plants are run, the more often they run. For example, Unusual Events reported to the NRC have declined in the last decade from nearly 200/year to less than 20 in 2000. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. nuclear plants routinely experience no unplanned automatic shutdowns, and the industrial safety record in the U.S. nuclear industry is nearly 10 times better than that of the total U.S. industrial sector. In this context, we are finding strong public support for continued operation of U.S. nuclear power plants, and growing support for building new plants.
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ANS believes that H.R. 1679 will contribute to the safety and reliability of nuclear energy in three principal ways. The first way is by expanding the Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization (NEPO) program. This program, cost-shared with industry, transfers DOE technologies and develops new technologies to improve the operation of existing nuclear power plants. Second, H.R. 1679 supports the NERI and Generation IV programs, which will lead to the design of a next generation of nuclear energy systems that are even safer and more reliable than today's extremely safe and reliable plants. In fact, a goal of the Generation IV program is to develop nuclear power plant designs that will eliminate the need for off-site emergency response in case of an accident. The third way is by allowing the NRC to conduct the research necessary to effectively license and oversee the operation of a next generation of nuclear power plants.
Additionally, both H.R. 1679 and H.R. 2126 will help safety by expanding support for nuclear engineering education to ensure an adequate supply of nuclear-trained professionals is available to operate and maintain existing nuclear plants and design and build a next generation of nuclear plants. The existing educational infrastructure is in dire need of increased federal support, and both of these bills will meet that need.
As for the concern that nuclear power plants are uneconomic, it is important to keep in mind that once built, nuclear power plants have been demonstrated to be among the lowest cost electricity producers. Nuclear power is thriving in the newly deregulated marketplace, with a healthy business developing around the purchase of some of the existing nuclear plants by large nuclear generating companies who can operate them cheaper in future markets. The mistaken image of nuclear power as uneconomical is proven to be far from true, and the Government's investment in the development of nuclear power technology has produced an economical, safe and environmentally clean electricity generator that can play an increasingly important domestic and worldwide role in the future. As proof of this improved economic performance, in the year 2000, nuclear generation costs were lower than those for coal, natural gas, and oil.
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The major economic issue for nuclear power is the capital cost of new construction. The challenge facing the industry is to design and build new nuclear power plants at a significantly lower cost than the plants that came on line in the 1980's and '90's.
ANS believes that the economic challenge is a challenge that can be met. For the near term, utilities are performing their own economic analyses to determine if they should build new plants based on available designs (such as Advanced Light Water Reactors and the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor) or complete partially constructed plants. Nuclear power plant vendors are reviewing their designs to determine how they can simplify those designs and incorporate advanced construction techniques to lower construction costs. H.R. 1679 will help these near-term efforts by studying the feasibility of completing partially-built plants, helping demonstrate untested NRC licensing processes for new plants, renewing the Price Anderson Amendments Act, and by increasing funding for the NERI program.
For the long-term, research under the NERI and Generation IV programs could lead to the development of nuclear plants that are less complex, simpler to build and operate, and thus more economic. H.R. 1679 will accelerate these R&D efforts, and both bills will ensure an adequate supply of nuclear-trained professionals is available to design and construct these next-generation plants.
With regard to the final concern about long-lived nuclear waste, ANS believes that deep geologic disposal is a technically acceptable solution. We urge the Congress and the Administration to move forward with the geologic repository program.
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As we discuss the topic of nuclear waste, it is important to remember that the natural uranium that is mined from the ground to produce nuclear fuel is radioactive, as are many other things all around us. It is an oversimplification to infer that spent fuel is a problem simply because it is radioactive and will remain so for a long time.
As stated earlier, deep geologic disposal is a technically acceptable way to keep the radioactive constituents in spent fuel from causing unacceptable harm to humans or the environment. However, technologies are under development that would allow most or all of the long-lived constituents of spent fuel to be recycled for use in advanced nuclear energy systems. Such advancements in nuclear waste management would further reduce the burden on the repository and simplify the management of the radioactive waste products requiring disposal.
The two bills will help us develop new approaches to management of spent nuclear fuel. Programs supported in H.R. 1679, such as the Generation IV program, the Proliferation-Resistant Recycle R&D program, and Advanced Accelerator Applications, as well as creation of an Office of Spent Fuel Research in DOE, will help us explore even better ways of managing spent nuclear fuel.
NUCLEAR ENERGY IS A VIABLE OPTION TO MEET FUTURE ENERGY NEEDS
Our Nation therefore has a very viable nuclear option for clean, economical electricity generation. However, for nuclear energy to achieve its full potential as a sustainable, long-term energy resource with large-scale domestic and global deployment, we must seek to improve the technology in the following four areas:
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The economic performance of nuclear power must continue to improve in an increasingly deregulated electricity market. Whereas the current generating cost is relatively low for nuclear electricity from the existing plants whose investment costs have been paid off, substantial improvements are required in capital cost and construction time for new nuclear power plants to compete in future U.S. markets. New plant designs, including designs that produce not just electricity but clean-burning hydrogen and other energy products, should be developed.
The safety performance of nuclear power plants must continue to improve in order to satisfy the very demanding expectations of the American public.
Nuclear wastes must be managed safely and cost effectively, and the back-end fuel cycle issues must be resolved. This goes well beyond resolution of the U.S. spent fuel repository issues, and includes the minimization of future wastes from the nuclear fuel cycle and the development of the fuel cycle of the future that will be sustainable from an economic and fuel supply standpoint, as well as from a social and environmental perspective.
Nuclear power technology, as it is deployed around the world, needs to evolve toward more and more proliferation-resistant systems that will assure that nuclear materials from the commercial fuel cycle are not usable for weapons purposes.
ANS members are concerned about the continuing lack of an adequate level of investment by the U.S. Government in the critical nuclear energy, science and technology programs that are required to improve the technology and assure the continued benefits of clean, affordable nuclear power for American taxpayers. H.R. 1647 and H.R. 2126 will go a long way toward re-establishing the level of federal support warranted to take full advantage of the benefits of nuclear energy.
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THE ROLE OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IN NUCLEAR R&D
Whereas the U.S. nuclear industry is responsible for the cost-effective and safe operations of nuclear power plants, our Government plays an important role in supporting long-term, high-risk R&D to improve the technology. The Government is further responsible for supporting the broad educational enterprise and stimulating the flow of new scientists and engineers into the nuclear enterprise.
The Government has three primary interests in nuclear energy, science and technology. First, trained manpower and state-of-the-art technology are vital to carrying out Government nuclear operations, including those related to national security and environmental cleanup. It is in the national interest that the Government support those public and private institutions that provide us the bulk of our nuclear-trained professionals.
Second, the Government desires to exercise world leadership in nuclear matters through technical and other means that require involvement in international R&D programs. This is an approach that was proven effective through the Atoms for Peace era, but was discarded over the past decade in favor of a head-in-the-sand approach to world nuclear matters. We must return to the Atoms for Peace approachrather than deny developing countries nuclear energy technology, we believe it is more effective to share nuclear energy technology with these countries and thus strongly influence the direction their nuclear programs take. All countries, including developing countries, will act in their own interests with or without U.S. involvement. We should work with them.
Page 424 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Third, the Government has a broad responsibility to assure adequate, affordable and clean energy supplies, and to assure that nuclear power remains a viable option for future deployment. In this regard, a balanced energy R&D portfolio is needed that should include investments in the development of future technology based upon merit and potential for contribution to America's future energy security and environmental quality needs. The R&D component of the proposed fiscal year 2002 nuclear energy budget by the DOE is less than $40M, a one-third reduction from the 2001 budget. This amount is far less than the investment in other energy technologies, and, from ANS' viewpoint, inadequate to support these mission needs. The two bills being reviewed today will restore funding for nuclear energy R&D and nuclear engineering education to far more appropriate levels.
SPECIFIC ANS RECOMMENDATIONS
ANS supports the levels of funding recommended in these two bills for nuclear R&D programs. Below is a chart which outlines our recommendations.
This is a critical juncture for nuclear energy, which stands on the threshold of making a substantial contribution to future U.S. and world needs for abundant, clean, and affordable energy. Major research and development and university infrastructure support needs exist that are not adequately addressed in the fiscal year 2002 budget request. Congressional leadership will once again be required to adequately support the development of new nuclear energy technologies and the training of young engineers and scientists in order to realize the full potential of nuclear energy for future generations.
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ANS believes that if nuclear energy is a part of our energy policy, cleaner air, a stronger economy, and increased national security will follow. Accordingly, we fully support both H.R. 1679 and H.R. 2126.
Thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the American Nuclear Society. I would be happy to respond to any questions that you may have.
BIOGRAPHY FOR JOHN F. KOTEK
John Kotek is manager of the Special Projects Section at Argonne National Laboratory-West in Idaho. In that capacity, he serves as the ANLW project manager for DOE's Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems initiative. He also serves as an advisor to the Argonne-West site manager on issues related to nuclear energy policy and the federal budget process. Mr. Kotek joined Argonne National Laboratory in January 1999. Prior to joining Argonne, Mr. Kotek held the position of Associate Director for Technology in DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology in Washington D.C. In that capacity, Mr. Kotek was responsible for several nuclear energy research and development programs, including the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative, the University Nuclear Science and Reactor Support program, and the Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization program. Mr. Kotek's held various other positions in his nine years with the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, including Chief of Staff and Assistant to the Director.
Mr. Kotek is an active member of the American Nuclear Society. He serves as Co-Chairman of the Public Policy Committee, and is also a member of the ANS Special Committee on Government Relations. In June 2001, Mr. Kotek will begin serving as Vice Chair/Chair Elect of the Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society.
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Mr. Kotek holds a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Our first three witnesses have a challenge. You need to convince Ms. Aurilio, and my Ranking Member, and a meaningful number of our constituents that nuclear power is economical, that it is safe, that it is reliable, and that we can handle the waste products. Ms. Aurilio.
STATEMENT OF ANNA AURILIO, LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, U.S. PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Ms. AURILIO. Thank you. Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thanks for the opportunity to hear our testimony.
My name is Anna Aurilio. I am the Legislative Director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. We are nonprofit, nonpartisan. We represent the State PIRG's in 26 states across the country. In Maryland, in California, and in Illinois, I am happy to say, we have a long history of working on energy issues, and that is one of the reasons that I am so honored to be here today is that I would like to sound a warning bell that many of the things that PIRG has done in the past to protect consumers from nuclear power, which we believe is unsafe, unreliable, uneconomic, and generates waste for which there is no sound solution, many of the victories that we have had in the past could be reversed if legislation such as H.R. 1679 were allowed to pass.
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As an example, and I didn't list our whole history here, but I would be happy to provide it. State PIRG's marshaled citizens and used the democratic process to stop or block the extension of many proposed nuclear power plants around the country. So when I saw the provisions in H.R. 1679 to look at reopening, or restarting, or propping up some of these nuclear power plants, I thought, oops, there goes the democratic process.
Next, when I first came to Washington, D.C., I worked with a coalition of environmental, taxpayer, and arms control groups to eliminate two very wasteful and expensive Government programs. One was known as the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor, which was a breeder reactor program which had already had billions of dollars spent in it. It was the grandson of the Clinch River breeder reactor program which Congress had killed in the 1980's, and there was this notion that you could somehow recycle radioactive waste in the breeder reactor, and we showed that to be false. We looked at Argonne National Lab's documents. We showed that as you reprocessed this fuel, you are generating more waste, you are contaminating equipment, and so far, it seems that Argonne and others who are promoting this technology have not demonstrated that you can actually reprocess the fuel in a way that you reduced the amount of waste.
I see inI can't remember whose testimonythat there is a notion that 95 percent of the separated waste could somehow get reused or disposed of as a lower classification of radioactive waste; that would be the separated uranium. I don't think that is true. There are isotopes in that uranium that make it inappropriate for future use in reactors, plus we have lots of uranium that hasn't been separated out that we could use. And the second thing is I don't think the separation efficiencies that have been demonstrated are high enough so that the radioactivity is low enough to reclassify this waste, and I would urge that it not be reclassified.
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So we know something about these programs, and Congress does, too, because they have eliminated funding for those programs, saving taxpayers at least $5.6 billion. That was the estimate at the time that they were killed.
I just want to make a couple of comments about the rhetoric that we are hearing regarding energy problems in the country today. We believe that this country is at crossroads, that we have the opportunity to reject the dirty and unsustainable energy sources of the past and increase energy efficiency, increase our generation of renewable energy, and lead this country to a smarter, cleaner energy future. I want to just rebut some of the nuclear industry's claims.
First of all, the nuclear industry claims that nuclear power is safe, yet, nine existing reactorsand I see a typo in my testimonyit is not since January 2001since January of 2000, nine existing reactors have experienced aging-related shutdowns. And I will note that three of those are on the Nuclear Energy Institute's list of plants that would like to see their licenses extended. I do hope they deal with those aging-related problems before they do that.
The industry also claims that the nuclear power is clean and that the waste can be safely disposed of, and yet, on June 6 of this year, NEI filed an appeal of EPA's radiation standards for the Yucca Mountain Dump. NEI would like to bewould like those radiation standards to be weakened even further to allow even more radiation to leak out of the Yucca Mountain Dump.
Page 429 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 The industry promises that nuclear power would be too cheap to meter, and I have heard a lot about how cheap those plants are to run. Again, let us not forget that these plants cost billions of dollars to build. And ongoing operational costs are not the only measure by which you should judge the economics of nuclear power. In fact, nuclear power plants were so expensive to build, that according to our research and that of the Safe Energy Communication Council, rate payers in just 11 states had to pay $112 billion in bailouts.
I believe my time is up, but we urge the Congress not to support increased funding, future funding, for nuclear energy, and instead, support increased funding for efficiency and renewable energy programs. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Aurilio follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ANNA AURILIO
Good morning, my name is Anna Aurilio and I'm the Legislative Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or U.S. PIRG. U.S. PIRG is the national office for the State PIRGs, which are environmental, good government and consumer advocacy groups active around the country. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
The state PIRGs have a long history of working for a clean affordable energy future. Our goal is to shift from polluting and dangerous sources of energy such as nuclear and fossil energy to increased energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources. Our website on energy is www.newenergyfuture.com.
Page 430 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Today I will be addressing nuclear energy issues. In particular, I will be focusing my testimony on the nuclear energy research and development provisions contained in H.R. 1679, ''The Electricity Supply Assurance Act of 2001'' and briefly discuss our views on S. 242, the ''Department of Energy Nuclear Science and Engineering Act.''
Nuclear power is unsafe, unreliable, uneconomic and generates long-lived radioactive wastes for which there is no safe solution. It would not exist without massive federal and state subsidies. It should be phased out as soon as possible and should not be encouraged as a future energy source.
Therefore, PIRG opposes further subsidies to the nuclear industry including those included in H.R. 1679 and S. 242. We are especially dismayed at the plethora of new subsidies proposed by H.R. 1679 as well as its support for the expansion of existing subsidies such as the Price Anderson Act and nuclear waste ''transmutation.''
This legislation takes us in the wrong direction. Taxpayers should not be asked yet again, to prop up a failed industry, which has garnered the lion's share of federal research and development funding, yet continues to be among the most expensive and dangerous energy sources. According to the Congressional Research Service, nuclear research and development has gotten more than 60 percent, or $66 billion in energy research and development funding from 19481998.
PIRG has been working to shift funding towards energy efficiency and clean renewable energy programs such as solar and wind. From 1993 through 1995, PIRG helped shift more than $500 million in nuclear and fossil R&D spending to efficiency and renewable programs. During that time, we helped convince Congress to eliminate funding for two extremely expensive advanced reactor programs, the gas-cooled reactor and the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor, saving taxpayers at least $5.6 billion. By 1998, the Department of Energy spent no money on commercial nuclear research and development.
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Unfortunately, since that time, the nuclear industry and its supporters have succeeded in reviving funding for commercial nuclear research and development. Hard-earned tax dollars would be better spent on developing and promoting energy efficiency and clean renewable energy technologies.
Nuclear power is a failed energy source of the past.
Despite industry's claims that nuclear power is ''safe'', nine existing reactors have experiencing aging-related shutdowns since January 2001.(see footnote 47) Despite industry claims that nuclear power is clean, no country in the world has solved the nuclear waste problem, and the industry is suing to allow more radiation leakage from a proposed waste dump in Nevada.(see footnote 48) Despite industry's promises of power that would be ''too cheap to meter'' it remains wildly expensive for taxpayers and ratepayers. For example, ratepayer bailouts of utilities' so-called ''stranded'' investments in nuclear power plants totaled an estimated $112 billion in the deregulation legislation in just 11 states.(see footnote 49) Even with these bailouts, ratepayers in states with nuclear power plants pay on average, 25 percent higher rates than ratepayers in states with no nuclear power generation.(see footnote 50)
The nuclear industry currently receives more subsidies and favorable government treatment than any other industry. Consider that:
Federal taxpayers paid to develop commercial nuclear technology;
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In case of an accident, federal taxpayers will pay public damages for accidents caused by DOE contractors, and may be ultimately liable for commercial nuclear accident damages above $9.09 billion;
Federal taxpayers will ultimately pay for nuclear waste disposal; and
Federal taxpayers were cheated out of billions of dollars during the privatization of the Uranium Enrichment Corporation.
While it is difficult to imagine how the public could possibly do more to prop up this failed industry, the nuclear industry has devised a whole new menu of additional unjustified and expensive subsidies.
Congress should oppose funding for new nuclear research and development programs.
This country is at a crossroads on energy policy. We should reject the failed, polluting energy sources of the past and work for a smarter cleaner energy future, that focuses on energy efficiency and shifting to clean renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
The Bush energy plan and H.R. 1679 would increase costs to taxpayers and increase the amount of radioactive waste which will ultimately need disposal. Further, both plans undermine the democratic process by cutting citizens even further out of decisions affecting their health and safety.
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H.R. 1679 will cost taxpayers at least $357.2 million in unjustified and dangerous nuclear programs for FY 2002.
The following describes these programs with proposed FY2002 funding in ( ).
Sec. 121 Nuclear Energy Research Initiative ($60m)As Representative Mark Foley (RFL) so eloquently put it on the House floor last June, ''The money goes to such corporate giants as Westinghouse and General Electric. Why does this mature industry need the help of the American taxpayer to develop and design the next generation of nuclear reactors?'' This program may fund duplicative research on advanced instrumentation and controls already undertaken by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Nuclear power is inherently unsafe and generates highly radioactive waste. All of the advanced reactors under consideration will still generate radioactive waste.
Sec. 122 Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization ($15m)This program is pure corporate welfare, as it funds research into optimizing the performance of existing nuclear power plants.
Sec. 123 Uprating of Nuclear Plant Operations ($15m)This section is blatant corporate welfare; it provides an incentive payment of up to $1 million per nuclear plant for increased operations. This means nuclear plant operators could get a taxpayer bonus for running their plants closer to safety margins.
Page 434 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Sec. 124 University Programs ($34.2m)We oppose funding university programs to the extent that they support the commercial nuclear power industry in H.R. 1679 and S. 242.
Sec. 126 Cooperative Research and Development and Special Demonstration Projects for the Uranium Mining Industry ($10m)This section would subsidize the extremely dangerous practice of in situ leach mining. This mining method guarantees pollution of scarce groundwater resources.
Sec. 127 Mixed Oxide Fuel ProgramThis is an expensive and dangerous program to deal with plutonium from weapons by mixing it with uranium and using it to fuel existing reactors. While the bill authorizes no specific amount for building the fuel fabrication facility, the overall cost of the MOX program is estimated at $4 billion. This is more expensive that the estimated $3.3 billion cost of immobilization which does not involve subsidizing commercial reactors. According to the Nuclear Control Institute, a French national utility recently admitted that reactor fuel made with separated plutonium is three to four times more expensive that conventional fuel. Using MOX in commercial reactors would reduce the stability of reactor cores. An accident at a MOX-fueled plant would cause more cancers than an accident at a uranium fueled plant because of the extreme carcinogenicity of plutonium. Finally, going forward with this program reverses a non-proliferation policy of not using plutonium in reactors.
Sec. 201 Research ProgramThis section is too vague to decipher.
Page 435 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Sec. 202 Nuclear Plant Completion Initiative ($3m)This is another attempt to prop up the industry by subsidizing the restart or completion of plants that have been shut down. This is a ridiculous waste of money, since many plants were shut down or halted for economic reasons and through democratic decisions such as ballot initiatives.
Sec. 203 Early Site Permit Demonstration Program ($15m)This is again more corporate welfare to the industry to help pay for permit applications.
Sec. 204 Nuclear Energy Technology Study for Generation IV Reactors ($50m)This seems duplicative with the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative since that program also supports research and development of ''Generation IV'' reactors.
Sec. 205 Research Supporting Regulatory Processes for New Reactor Technologies and Designs ($25m)These programs should be funded by industry user fees at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Sec. 301 Environmentally Preferable PurchasingThis section attempts to legislate away the polluting reality of nuclear power. The American public is being barraged by misleading NEI ads touting the safety and positive economics of nuclear power. The Federal Trade Commission has said that NEI's ''advertising campaign touting nuclear power as environmentally clean was without substantiation.''(see footnote 51) If it is so clean and environmentally-preferable, why is the industry suing to allow even more radioactive leakage at the proposed nuclear waste dump?
Page 436 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Sec. 302 Emission-Free Control Measures Under a State Implementation PlanThis section tramples over state's rights and again attempts to legislate away the ugly reality that nuclear power plants have emitted at least 42,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste so far.
Sec. 303 Prohibition of Discrimination Against Emission-Free Electricity Projects in International Development ProgramsThe U.S. cannot safely manage its reactors and radioactive waste, why should we foist this failed technology on developing countries?
Sec. 402 Office Of Spent Nuclear Fuel Research and Section 403 Advanced Fuel Recycling Technology Program ($10m)These sections attempt to promote several dangerous and expensive nuclear technologies. First, these sections support pyroprocessing, a vestige of the breeder reactor program killed by Congress in 1994, which saved taxpayers at least $3 billion. Pyroprocessing is a nuclear fuel reprocessing technology, which could be used to separate weapons-usable material. Pyroprocessing will not reduce the quantity of nuclear waste, and will likely increase the amount of waste generated because of contamination of the machinery and chemicals used in the separations process. Most of the waste stream is uranium, which will not be pure enough to recycle again into new fuel and hence must be dealt with along with the other radioactive wastes. A three-year demonstration of this technology failed to accomplish the original goals of processing 125 fuel elements, but unfortunately proved its danger when several serious incidents, including contamination of 11 personnel occurred.
Second, these sections promote Accelerator Transmutation of Wastea nuclear alchemy program that will not get rid of nuclear waste. According to a DOE report to Congress in 1998, ATW will cost at least $280 billion over 118 years and will not obviate the need to open a waste repository. Both of these technologies pose proliferation risks.(see footnote 52)
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Finally, some of the proponents of Generation IV reactors promote, once again, breeder reactor technology. Congress has killed this program twice and breeder reactors have been a dismal failure in France and Japan.
Nuclear power is unsafe, uneconomic, unreliable and generates waste for which there is no sound solution. It is a failed technology of the past and would not exist were it not for enormous and unjustified government subsidies and policies. The U.S. should do everything it can to protect the health and safety of the public as well as our pocketbooks. Nuclear power should be phased out as quickly as possible and replaced by energy efficiency and clean renewable energy.
BIOGRAPHY FOR ANNA AURILIO
Anna Aurilio is the Legislative Director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). She is responsible for policy development, research and advocacy on energy issues ranging from electric utility restructuring to nuclear waste. Ms. Aurilio also founded and directs the PIRGs' Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork, which works to eliminate anti-environmental subsidies including those to the oil, coal, nuclear, mining, ranching, and timber industries. Ms. Aurilio is a member of the Board of Directors of the Safe Energy Communication Council and she is a member of the League of Conservation Voters Political Advisory Committee.
Page 438 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Ms. Aurilio received a Bachelor's degree in Physics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986, and a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992. Prior to receiving her Master's degree, Ms. Aurilio was a Staff Scientist with the National Environmental Law Center, and the PIRG's National Litigation Project for three years. At the National Environmental Law Center, a national litigation and policy center, Ms. Aurilio investigated industrial and municipal compliance with environmental laws and provided technical support for citizen lawsuits against Clean Water Act violators in Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Washington and California.
Panel II Discussion
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. What I hope that we can do at the end of this hearing is to invite the panelists to comment on each other's testimony or ask questions of the others. What we want is a full and fair hearing of the issues today, and I think that you all down there are a whole lot smarter on these issues than we are up here. You may have better questions to ask.
I am now going to violate a principle that I try to adhere to, and that is that I, generally, am the last one to ask questions on the panel. But because several months ago I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a luncheon group which is meeting now, and I need to go in a few minutes, I would like to make a couple of comments and ask a couple of questions now, and then I will turn it over to my colleague, Mrs. Biggert, and hopefully, will return before you have completed because I would really like to be involved in the last part of this hearing where you all are questioning each other, because I think that needs to be on the record. Ms. Aurilio has made a number of statements, a number of challenges, and the hearing would really not be complete without a response to those, and so we want to have that response.
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Ms. Aurilio, you mentioned a violation of the democratic process. I would like to remind you this is not a democracy, it is a republic. I heard a very good definition of a democracy, which makes me glad I don't live in one. It is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for dinner. I hear our political people talking too much about a democracy. This is a republic. In a republic, of course, the rule of law prevails and not the will of the majority. By the way, a lynch mob is a good example of a democracy. Clearly, in a lynch mob, the will of the majority is being expressed. Isn't it? Aren't you glad you live in a republic rather than a democracy?
Nuclear Site Safety
Ms. Aurilio, I have gone through a worst case scenario relative to storage in a site like Yucca Mountain, and I have imagined that we get it there safely, and I think that we really can do that, you know. These casks can be hit by a train, bombs will go off beside them, they have been demonstrated to be very, very safe. Now, it is in the mountain and we have an earthquake, and it grinds up the stainless steel containers it is in, and it grinds up the fuel rods, and they now somehow get down to that 900 feet of rock, down to that aquifer that is 900 feet below, where they are stored, and they are stored about 900 feet underground. It gets down in the water there. And I am wondering how it is going to go anywhere, because these elements are very much heavier than water and these aquifers are not raging streams, they are moving very slowly. I suspect that it would all stay, but let us imagine that it doesn't all stay there, that somehow, ultimately, a few of these things get in your home water system, they are very heavy, much heavier than sand. When sand gets in your system, it doesn't come out the spigot, it stays there at the bottom of the pipe. Just open up one of the pipes after several years of using it. You will see some sand down there in the lowest part, you know.
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I just can't imagine a scenario where this would be a major public risk if we go through with the plan that we have been proposing and use this deep geologic storage. Can you help me understand a scenario in which this would be a major threat to our society? I can't see one.
Ms. AURILIO. Well, if the nuclear industry agrees with your assessment that these heavy elements would never show up in your drinking water tap, then it should withdraw its appeal of the EPA standard and allow the people of Nevada to be protected by the Safe Drinking Water Act the same as the rest of us are. I am no expert on the geochemistry of all the different components of the nuclear waste. I know a couple of things. One is there are certain components that are very, very long-lived and are relatively soluble. And in the long term, in terms of radioactive leakage from the mountain, folks who have looked at this question, including, I believe, Dr. Pickford, have said that elements like magnesium 99 would dominate the flow of radioactive materials, and they are relatively soluble.
I also know that three or four years ago, there was new research that was uncovered on plutonium. Now, plutonium is one of the most carcinogenic and one of the most dangerous parts of the nuclear waste stream and it is very insoluble. However, there was new research that was published in the journal, Nature, that showed that there may be other transport mechanisms in groundwater, such as absorption onto colloidal particles, which can be very small and can, actually, show up in your tap water, that won't necessarily sink out. And that represented a new mechanism of transport for plutonium in the groundwater in a way that actually this very carcinogenic element could end up affecting people. So if your scenario is correct, I challenge the Nuclear Energy Institute to withdraw its appeal of the standards.
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Chairman BARTLETT. Mr. Colvin, let me ask you the same question.
Mr. COLVIN. Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, I think that the issue here has to do with the standard of what will protect the health and safety of the American public. Our challenge to the EPA standard is based upon the issue which you raised. This is a republic and we go by the rule of law. In 1992, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act and directed the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a standard to protect the health and safety of the American public and do that based upon the recommendations and Council of the National Academy of Science. They have not done that, Mr. Chairman. That is why we have filed this petition. We are basing a health and safety standard not on science, we are basing it purely on politics and policy.
So that is really the issue. I would be happy to discuss and provide written comments on the issue that you raised, the basic issue, which is how do radionuclides in the scenario you posed move through the mountain. There has been tremendous work on that done by the Department of Energy through its program. We probably know more about the various ologies of the mountain, the hydrology, geology, seismology, and so on of that, and we could bring that research to the Committee for your interest.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you very much. Let me now turn the Chair over to my colleague, and I will return as soon as I can. Thank you.
Mrs. BIGGERT [presiding]. A big chair to fill. I will next yield to Ms. Woolsey, our Ranking Member, for questions, five minutes.
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Nuclear Waste Issues
Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you, Madam Chairman. When we first got immersed in the energy situation we have in California, two things immediately came out of my mouth to the people that I knew. One was oh, boy, the new Administration is going to use this for an excuse to drill off our coast and up in the Alaska wilderness, and we are going to have nuclear energy before us again. Already, it is very clear that drilling is not going to pass the muster with the grassroots across this Nation. And I want to tell you, I don't believe expanding nuclear energy plants will either. Particularly, in California, where we are absolutely certain that if we had expended the same amount of financing and funding to increase renewable energy sources, efficiency, and educate regarding conservation, we wouldn't be in this situation right now. People know better and that is a much less expensive way to go forward. We know that.
But now that I have said that, I have a tug, and one of my tugs about nuclear is about medical application. I mean, if I had my way, we would send our students that interested, we would help them be in school, we would help them find a way to understand nuclear medicine and build on it, make it better, and put our energies there, and the amount of nuclear waste that will come from that will have a cost-effective give and take that has to be worth it to us. And in the same time, we have to be investing in finding out what to do with the existing nuclear waste that we have, not creating anymore.
When we talk about cheap geological disposal, that has to be compared with expensive, dangerous accidents that can, and will, and do happen in this industry. It happens in every industry, but when you talk about our environment, the ultimate destruction of our environment is a nuclear accident. So you justthere is no way, and I have heard nothing from the first three of you that has made me feel more confident instead of less confident about what we are doing. We are taking thisit is very cavalier.
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So what I would like you to talk to me about, and startingI am going to end with you, if I can, Ms. Aurilio, because I think these three gentlemen probably want to talk about it. I want you to tell me, do you think the waste disposal problem will ever be solved, how, and how much it is going to cost, and why it is worth that investment. And you have to be quick, because they are going to cut me off. I mean, you know, not on purpose, but because time is time around here.
Mr. COLVIN. Congresswoman Woolsey, let me just go forward. We have to deal with the waste by-products of every technology that we build, whether we are talking about hydroelectric generating plants, we are talking renewables
Ms. WOOLSEY. Well, wait a minute. I know that, but there is nothing more dangerous than this. Don't talk about the other ones. Talk about nuclear.
Mr. COLVIN. See, I would disagree with that. I think on that point I would clearly disagree. We have the ability in the world, globally and in the United States, to protect the environment from this waste by-product for centuries, for tens of thousands of years. The Department of Engineering has issued their Science of Engineering Report, which has the best minds in the country have worked on this for many years. We think that that is clearly doable.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Okay. How much is it going to cost and
Mr. COLVIN. We don't know the total life cycle cost of the repository. It is projected, currently, at $56 billion. That has been paid by rate payers. That is part of the cost of electricity, which currently is cheaper than the production of any other electricity in the United States in total costs, including capital going forward, capital, by-products, to store the waste, and to decommission, decontaminate these plants.
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Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Magwood?
Mr. MAGWOOD. Let me not repeat what Mr. Colvin just said. I think what he said is, essentially, correct in my view. But let me emphasize that the most important thing in the nuclear power area is, basically, take nothing for granted. There is nothing to be gained from having a cavalier attitude toward radiation, toward nuclear waste, toward nuclear operations. We take it extraordinarily seriously. That is why I think Mrs. Biggert's bill is so important, because we need trained technical experts who can deal with these materials and deal with these processes. But I have great confidence that we can do that, that we can dispose of nuclear waste. And in fact, Mr. Graham's bill points the way toward in the longer term future toward even finding ways of making nuclear waste less toxic and lower quantity than what we currently have. But I do believe that we can site a geological repository to dispose of commercial nuclear waste. I do believe that the future of nuclear energy will find technologies to resolve some of the concerns that you have raised. I think that it would be a mistake for us to not understand that there are many people who have seen Chernobyl or seen Three Mile Island and not haveand have these concerns about safety.
I would point outand this doesn't get pointed out very often, by the way, and I know your time is up but I will talk for just another minuteit is important to recognize that as bad as Three Mile Island was and as many things that went wrong, the system, essentially, worked as it was supposed to. In the end, the amount of radiation that escaped to the environment and in which, eventually, escaped in a controlled matter, was very, very small, and it had no health effects. So we understandit isI hesitate to say we understand how to do this, because every time we do, it sounds like technical arrogance, but it is true. We understand these materials, we understand these machines, we understand these processes. And in fact, the United States nuclear industry, which Mr. Colvin represents, has become the best in the world at operating these nuclear facilities. So I think that the answer is not to say not to be afraid, but to understand and to deal with the risks that are there.
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Ms. WOOLSEY. May I ask unanimous consent that I would likethe two other witnesses can answer the question? There is only two of us up here.
Mrs. BIGGERT. As my first job, I willwithout objection.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Good job, Madam Chairman. Thank you. Mr. Kotek.
Mr. KOTEK. As Mr. Magwood says, looking to the long term, the Department of Energy has research programs underway and programs that would be expanded under Mr. Graham's bill that would look to develop technologies that would simplify the disposal of spent nuclear fuel by separating out those longest lived components of the fuel that Ms. Aurilio talked about and reusing them in advanced nuclear energy systems. So there are technologies on the horizon that could further reduce the technical challenge posed by this material. So you know, why we think deep geologic disposal of spent fuel is, you know, technically, a fine solution, there may be, you know, better solutions on the horizon.
Ms. AURILIO. I will address the current nuclear waste and then the proposals for these recycling schemes. First of all, the $56 billion that it is going to cost if Yucca Mountain goes forward, I don't think will be fully paid for by rate payers, because when GAO did studies looking at how much money was going to be collected by rate payers, they found that there was going to be a shortfall, and I don't have that number off the top of my head, but it was several billion dollars that U.S. taxpayers would actually have to pick up the slack on. Now, if the assumption is that you are going to collect more money by extending the licenses of the new nuclear power plantsof the existing nuclear power plantsthen you are going to end up with more waste, and so Yucca Mountain actually won't be able to hold all of that waste. You will have to build another repository.
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Finally, in terms of these recycling and reprocessing schemes, as I said before, Congress has rejected these schemes in the past because of economic and nuclear proliferation concerns. The Department of Energy did a roadmap looking at this scenario, the Accelerator Transmutation of Waste Roadmap. It estimated that it would cost $280 billion over 117 years, require the construction and operation of dozens of fuel fabrication facilities, reactors, accelerators, what have you, and that you would still need a repository because there would still be some waste that you couldn't deal with in that scenario, plus the defense waste. So nuclear waste is a serious problem. No country in the world has solved this problem yet and I think it is very irresponsible for the industry to propose building even more nuclear power plants before we have actually solved this.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Generation IV Reactor Technology
Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you. Claiming my time as a Member of the Committee, I would like to ask a few questions and then the Gentlewoman from Texas. It seems that we are addressing various elements of the energy package, and what type of energy, and it seems apparent that we need to focus on a number of different types of energy to be able to provide for our need. It seems like technology, in general, has increased in the 21st century; we are in the 21st century with technology, but our technology of energy seems to be still in the dark ages. And if we want to turn the lights on, I think that we are going to have to look at every type of energy and really focus not just on one or two, but as many as we can. And coming from Illinois, where I think nuclear has been very much of a part of the energy that we have there, and seeing how that has worked, I certainly think that this is an area that is very important, and certainly, to understand.
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And so with that, Mr. Magwood your Office's Generation IV program represents the long-term future of nuclear energy, and as I understand it, some of the designs are only conceptual, and how long do you think before you will have a design that will be commercially ready to go?
Mr. MAGWOOD. It is still a bit early to tell. What we are doing at this time is we are working with the international community. And by the way, it has been a very gratifying exercise to work not just with U.S. experts, but experts from nine other countries in the Generation IV initiative to look at the possibility of finding new concepts for nuclear power generation that really address many of the concerns that people have had over the years, even beyond what is currently possible with current technology. I think that it is possible to design nuclear power plants to meet entirely differententirely new standards for efficiency of operation, waste generation, proliferation concerns, and I think that it is possible to have this completed in the next 20 years or so. There are some concepts that were looked at that could arrive a lot sooner than that.
There is one concept that came out of our Nuclear Energy Research Initiative, known as IRIS, which involves, I think, about six countries, that would be available as early as 2015. There are some more exotic concepts that generate hydrogen, for example, that maybe not be available until 2025 or so. But you know, we are going to evaluate these concepts, and we are going to have a very, very rigorous evaluation that will be completed by the end of next year, and we will be able to answer the question then.
Electrometallurgical Treatment Technology
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Mrs. BIGGERT. I know that every time you have appeared before this Committee and I have been here, I have asked you about EMT. What is the status of that now? Is that ever going to be something that can be used commercially to store the nuclear waste or are you looking at other processes?
Mr. MAGWOOD. Well, what we are doing with EMT right nowand by the way, Ms. Aurilio is familiar with this as well. We have had lots of discussions about this over the years. What we are doing with the EMT right now is that we are treating DOE spent fuel in Idaho so that it can be disposed of in a geologic depository. There are somethere is a predecessor technology of EMT called pyroprocessing, which was usedwhich was part of the integral reactor program, which Ms. Aurilio alluded to earlier, that has been discussed as a long-term way of dealing with commercial spent fuel. It is not something that we have made a decision about whether we are going to pursue that. The President's Energy Policy did indicate that it should be examined. We have started to look at the possibility of reviving a program in that direction, but we want to make sure that it is more of a matter of moving into the future as opposed to just revisiting what we have done in the past. So we want to be able to move into the future with a more efficient program and we are looking at the possibility of doing that. But at this point, we are still focused on treating the DOE spent fuel in Idaho.
Advanced Reactor Construction Issues
Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you. And then Mr. Colvin, why, in your opinion, have the U.S. utilities not ordered a ready-to-go nuclear regulatory commission, certified design, and how are these plants performing in the Asian countries where they have been built?
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Mr. COLVIN. Madam Chairman, the real reason that companies have not moved forward to build new nuclear plants or any of the certified designs in the United States has first been an issue of need; second, it has been an issue of economics. When we look at the market conditions which are driving our decision making processI mean, basically, we have 25 states that have gone through some form of deregulation through legislation or regulation. Sixty of our nuclear power plants operate in those states. The question at the end of the day is how much capital do I have to put forward, how long is it going to take me to amortize that capital. It comes down to a business decision.
Advanced Reactor Performance in Asia
With respect to the certified designs, we have the designstwo of the three designs have been built in Asia and are operating in Asia. The GE Advanced Boiling Water Reactor is operating in Japan and is being built in Taiwan. Those plants are operating at very high levels of performance and safety. They were put on line1,450 megawatt plants in Japan were put on line in less than 48 months from first earth movement to commercial operation so, in fact, it is achievable. The second portion of those designs, the combustion engineering design, for the most part, has become the standardized plant that the Korean government is, in fact, using to supply their energy needs. So we have a great opportunity to do that.
We are looking at some other designs that may better fit our energy needs both from the size and from the advanced concepts that are being developed with the Department of Energy.
Page 450 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you. I will recognize the Gentlewoman from Texas and turn the Chair back to the Chairman. Thank you.
Ms. LEE. Thank you very much. I would like to take my time to raise some issues and concerns, and I thank the panelists very much for their presentation and the previous panel as well. Let me say to the Chairman that I value and view these meetings as extremely important.
My inability to attend the meeting on Thursday was because a good portion of my district in Houston is under a sizable amount of water with $1 billion in damage. I will take this opportunity to say that I will be making an official request to both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Science Committee for a hearing on site in Houston on a multitude of issues that may have brought about this enormous, both tragedy but also unique and inexplicable event, which is the tropical storm that brought in about 25 to 36 inches of rain. We have described it as a lifetime event, and so I hope to be able to pursue that.
But these issues are very important to me, and the previous hearing dealt with the issue of fossil fuel. And I do believe that we are long overdue for a national domestic energy policy and would like to share some comments. The previous panel, of course, talked about hydrogen and the abundant source that it is, and I am curious about hydrogen. You may not be able to answer any of my concerns, but I believe that fuel cells represent a great opportunity, prospectively. Interestingly enough, we are under water in Houston, and therefore, in many parts of our community, we have no electricity. If anyone would want to share with me whether that is in any way a future possibility of correcting, I would be interested in that, whether any source of energy would eliminate that possibility. But I am curious about hydrogen's use in fuel cells. Obviously, the fuel cell being like a battery, and I am told it is very difficult to run down. That is a safe source, I believe.
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I also raised the point, and I do respect the interest in nuclear energy, respect the research and development and note that in years past, there were a number of energy power plants proliferating across the Nation. And of course, after Three Mile Island and other incidents, the social or the community opinion started to decline. And I wonder, however, putting aside the community opinion, whether or not you can build a plant that isshould I use the term fiscally responsibleor brings about the kind of return. I am looking at numbers that said the cost of building one nuclear power plant, $3 billion spread over 20 years, could by the year 2030 enable renewable energy to provide b to h of the total energy then used in the United States.
I am also curious about devices now on the market that can save four times as much electricity as all U.S. nuclear plants and make at just five percent of the cost of building and running them, and it is cheaper to write off any nuclear plant and provide customers with efficiency. So I raise these concerns, one, you may not be the panel for hydrogen or fuel cells, but I am particularly interested, and I will start with Mr. Magwood. And Mr. Colvin, I know you are eager to defend nuclear research and nuclear energy, and I would be happy to have you comment whether or not it is any safer or any longer running than what we are experiencing in the City of Houston.
But I am concerned about research and development, period, whether it is cleaner fossil fuel, hearing that I missed on Tuesday, which I thought was extremely important and hope that we will have the opportunity perhaps of hearings during the course of our review of these legislative initiatives. But in any event, I am interested in your R&D budget for the Department of Energy, whether or not it is sufficient, what you have been able to do with research and development dollars, and whether or not Congress needs to spend more of its focus on providing research and development dollars to enhance any source of fuel that we may be looking to. I am a big believer in research and development and I believe that the present budget, the Administration's budget, is not adequate, and would hope that we would engage in increasing the numbers.
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Nuclear Energy Cost Effectiveness
Mr. Colvin, you may want to answer the question regarding my concerns about the costliness of nuclear energy and why we would best spend our motherexcuse me, not our mother, but our moneyelsewhere. Mr. Magwood. Did I pronounce your name correctly?
Mr. MAGWOOD. Magwood, yes.
Ms. LEE. Thank you.
Mr. MAGWOOD. Let us see, where should I start?
Ms. LEE. R&D or
Mr. MAGWOOD. Well, let me say a few things about some of the areas you discussed. First, let me say that, in general, the requests that came from the Department of Energy for the Fiscal Year 2002 was clearly a transitional budget that was designed to give the new Administration an opportunity to understand what DOE was doing, how it was doing it, whether it was doing it well. And while, clearly, there are many people who are concerned about the budgets for both my office and Mr. Garman's office, and other offices in DOE, we believe that we were successful in designing a budget that did not harm. It may not in all cases moved things forward that we would have liked to have seen, but it certainly gave us time to understand the situation in DOE, to look at the programs and make some judgments about what should end, and end things that don't need to be done, and begin things that that should be done. So that is largely what the budget was
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Long-term Versus Short-term Energy Issues
Ms. LEE. Mr. Magwood, if I might just say that I appreciate your demeanor. I would only say that we are in a crisis, an energy crisis, and I don't believe we have the luxury of transitional government and/or having you at the Department of Energy be as respectful as you have been. And I appreciate what you are saying, but I think it is time that we realize that there is a crisis of sorts and begin to give the tools that are necessary to solve the problem.
Mr. MAGWOOD. I think that, you know, action is really under way. I believe that the National Energy Policy that has been issued points a direction which is largely focused on longer term, and I know there will be considerable discussion about longer term versus shorter term measures, but clearly, I think the Administration has its arms around the energy issue. I think that people in the Administration at a very high level are engaged in this issue. And quite frankly, and I should point out, Ms. Lee, that I am the single remaining holdover from the Clinton Administration still working in the Bush Administration in the DOE, and as a former member of that Administration, it is clear that it was really not alwaysenergy was not always a high visibility issue. And I think that because of the situation, clearly, it is now a high visibility issue. The President talks about it, the Vice President talks about it, the Secretary is very focused on dealing with these issues, so I feel very good about the direction we are moving in because it has that visibility. So I think it is something that should give you some encouragement.
Let me say just something very quickly about fuel cells. I am not a fuel cell expert. Mr. Garman would have been the person to address that to, but I doI am familiar with some of the research that is going on. There is a lot of hope for that. A lot of progress has been made and I think that there is a great deal of confidence that over the next decade we will see fuel cells appear in more and more places, enabling people to have distributed energy resources at small industrial facilities, and perhaps, in the longer term, in cars, as a way to reduce pollution. So there is a lot of hope for that.
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Moving onto nuclear, I thinkand Mr. Colvin will also speak to thisI think that I would like to encourage you at some point, and Ms. Woolsey, as well, if you ever travel to Japan, to visit the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor located in the Kashiaazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Station. It is built using General Electric technology, so it is an American technology plant, and it is the newest, finest, best nuclear power plant in the world. And I think that if you take a tour of that plant, you will be very impressed with the technology. One can stand in the turbine room of that nuclear power plant and have a normal conversation without ear protection. I mean, it is a very, very advanced technology plant and it is of great interest to utilities in this country for near term deployment. I have had conversations with several utility executives that are looking at that and other designs, and they believe that in this decade it will be possible to deploy a plant of that nature or perhaps of the Pebble Bed variety we hear so much about before 2010. So it is something that utilities are looking at. The business cases have been made to make an order as of today. But I think we have gotten closer and closer to that, and as energy prices continue to increase, we will get closer still.
Ms. LEE. I ask the Chairman to allow an additional two minutes to allow Mr. Colvin to be able to respond, Mr. Chairman? Thank you very much.
Mr. Colvin, before you say that, let me thank Mr. Magwood very much very quickly and say I appreciate the balance you bring to the Administration. I think just for the record, to note that the price per barrel for gasfor oil was $23 under the Clinton Administration. There was not a crisis. When there was, they responded, and I happen to think that the Energy Policy could be more diverse and be more helpful to where we are trying to go. Mr. Colvin. Thank you.
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Mr. COLVIN. Yes. let me make just a couple comments. As I said in my comments before the Committee, the reality is that we need to fuel our economy for our Nation. We need to look at every energy source we have possible. We need to look at it both in the near term, the mid term and the long term. That includes increased effort on conservation, increased effort on renewals, but we can't get there today from where we think we have to go without the construction of new types of generated facilities. That is, clearly, our view. That is the view of the Administration and the view of the analyses that have been done.
With respect to nuclear, the real issue today is to build a new nuclear plant. That decision will be made in a different way than it was made in the past. In the past, the decisions to build large generating facilities were, in fact, regulated by the state and decisions were made in partnership between the state and the utility companies. That will no longer be the case. The next nuclear plant that will be built in the United States will be built purely on a business basis. It will be either good business and it will pass muster in having the financial support, the support of investors, the support of the local community, and the ability to bring that plant on line on schedule and recover your investment. If you cannot do that, we will not build those plants. We think we can do that, and the analyses and the evaluation for looking at the business case, we believe we can design, construct, and build new nuclear plants in the United States for about the same cost of capital cost as clean coal technology, which is slightly above what we are currently building in combined cycle gas turbine technology. We think we can do that, bring those on line. the benefit of nuclear, in large part, is its stability, its ability to operate 24/7, and its ability to have a continuing low fuel cost over the lifecycle of that plant.
Page 456 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 7 Ms. LEE. You believe, however, in increased research and development? I saw you nodding. Is that something that we need to focus our resources in?
Mr. COLVIN. I think as a nation, we really have not given the appropriate attention to research and development in every area. I think that we really need to look at that and look at our priorities. I think the bills before us to look at the university issue, the human capital issues, all of those, the science and education of our people, we really have let that down, and I think we really need to take a hard look at that. I am really encouraged that this Committee has that as a high priority.
Ms. LEE. Thank you very much.
Chairman BARTLETT. Thank you. I would just like to take a moment to put in context the importance of the dialogue that we are having today. There are about a thousand giga-barrels of oil that remain in the world, and while this expectation of oil yet to be found would find less than that amount, that accounts by the way for about 30 years at current use rates plus expected growth, so there is about 30 years of oil remaining, probably about that much gas, a whole lot more coal than this country and China, but when we have to start using that when the other fossil fuels are in shorter supply, the 250 year supply at current use rates is going to drop very dramatically.
Now, if Ms. Aurilio and Ms. Woolsey prevail in their argument, and we do not have nuclear, then about the only show in town is renewables and what we can get thatwe are not Icelandwhat we can get from geothermal, and maybe we will learn how to harness the tides a little better than we have been able to do so far. But we face a really critical energy future if they are right in their argument.
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I think the challenge before us is to take this dialogue nationwide, because we as a people need to decide whether the potential risksand of course, there are potential risks when you have something as active as radioactivity in our nuclear power plants. Whether this risk is acceptable to our society, I would remind you that the automobile kills 45,000 people a year, life altering injuries to hundreds of thousands of people a year, and still, we accept it and support it. By the way, we would have, essentially, no deaths there if we outfitted each of our cars the way a race car is outfitted. You have seen them run into the wall at 100 miles an hour or more, and the wheels fly off, they turn end over end, burst into flames, and they put the fire out, and the driver walks out unscathed.
Now, if we equipped all of our cars with a steel crash cage, you put on a flame suit and a crash helmet before you went to the 711, we would have almost no fatalities. Why don't we do that? It is because society has reached a judgment that 45,000 deaths a year and hundreds of thousands of life-altering injuries is an acceptable price to pay for the convenience of the automobile. We need to have this dialogue, and my challenge to you, help us in determining how we get this dialogue, this argument, across the country so that our peopleand you know, however it comes out is the way it is going to come out. My firm belief is that when all the facts are on the table, that Ms. Aurilio and Ms. Woolsey will join us, who believe that nuclear power must be and should be a part of our energy future. Let me challenge you to tell us on the recordthink carefully about that we mightI would like to see you all go across the country, debates, I think that would be very interesting. We need to have our people become involved in this dialogue. The great wisdom of the country is outside the beltway. If we listen to them, we will not do something dumb. If we don't, we frequently, do, and so we would like to get you outside the beltway so that we can have this dialogue.
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By the way, I am a big, big supporter of renewables, and to the extent that you are successful in this dialogue, there is going to be even more pressure to develop renewables. We can't go wrong by emphasizing renewables more. So to the extent that you help us to do that, I applaud you. And I believe that at the end of the day, you are going to join with us to say, at least for the moment, nuclear should be and must be a part of a balanced energy production in this country.
Well, I want to thank the panelists very much for their testimony and help us decide how we debate this across the country so that all of our people are educated and understand and we end up doing the right thing down here. Thank you very much, and we stand in adjournment.
[Whereupon, at 1 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
Answers to Post-Hearing Questions Submitted by Majority Members of the Subcommittee on Energy
Next Hearing Segment(3)
(Footnote 39 return)
National Energy PolicyReport of the National Energy Policy Development Group [NEPG Group Report], (U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, May 2001), p. 612. (See http://www.energy.gov/HQPress/releases01/mavpr/chapter6.pdf)
(Footnote 40 return)
NEPD Group Report, p. 517. (See http://www.energy.gov/HQPress/releases01/maypr/chapter5.pdf)
(Footnote 41 return)
NEPD Group Report, pp. 610 and 611.
(Footnote 42 return)
Renewable Power Pathways: A Review of The U.S. Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Programs, Committee on Programmatic Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Power Technologies, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, National Research Council (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000), p. 41. (See http://www.nap.edu/books/0309069807/html/)
(Footnote 43 return)
Ibid, p. 43.
(Footnote 44 return)
NEPD Group Report, pp. 515517.
(Footnote 45 return)
Inquiries to provide missing text were not answered at time of hearing publication.
(Footnote 46 return)
Bisconti Research/Bruskin Research surveys, conducted in October 1999, January 2001 and March 2001. Surveys were with nationally representative samples of 1,000 U.S. adults, interviewed by phone.
(Footnote 47 return)
Union of Concerned Scientists, ''Aging Nuclear Plants and License Renewal,'' Issue Brief, May 22, 2001.
(Footnote 48 return)
Nuclear Energy Institute, Inc. vs. U.S. and U.S. EPA, filed in U.S. District Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, June 6, 2001.
(Footnote 49 return)
Safe Energy Communication Council, ''The Great Ratepayer Robbery: How Electric Utilities are Making Out Like Bandits at the Dawn of Deregulation,'' Fall 1998.
(Footnote 50 return)
(Footnote 51 return)
Federal Trade Commission, letter to Public Citizen, 12/13/99.
(Footnote 52 return)
Lyman, Edwin S., ''Research on Accelerator Transmutation of Waste and Pyroprocessing is a Colossal Waste of Taxpayer Money,'' May 24, 2001.