Why I Support Nuclear Energy (Rep. Mike Rogers)

I appreciate the opportunity to post on The Detroit News' Politics Blog. While I'm not able to respond to every question and comment, I am reading them and will try to respond to some. Many comments on my last post were about nuclear energy, so here's why and how I became a strong advocate for nuclear power.

If you'd told me 10 years ago we ought to produce electricity with nuclear power, my response would have been "no way." The escalating energy crisis our nation is facing, however, prompted a hard look at our energy needs and future options.

What I learned was startling but convinced me there are solutions. Nuclear power has a track record in places like France where that country has produced 70 percent of its power with nuclear plants for more than 30 years and done it without a problem.

Just as technology has transformed how we get information, it has changed nuclear power. Nuclear plants are cleaner -- zero emissions! And waste is reduced to smaller amounts that can be safely sealed and stored. We're even learning to reuse the waste, which is the ultimate recycling achievement.

Nuclear plants have multiple financial advantages, each generating between 1,400 and 2,400 construction jobs plus 400 to 700 high-paying permanent jobs, and a ripple effect of revenue for local, state and federal government.

But nuclear power is not the ONLY way to solve our energy crisis. We must pursue wind, solar, biofuel and every other possible source. Only in diversity can we meet future needs and avoid the energy rut we're in today.

Whether we like it or not, even oil will continue to be a source of energy -- there is no way to avoid that in the short term.

A thought: Cheerleading for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles is a good thing. We hope they'll be built right here in Michigan. But think about this: Where is the additional electricity we'll need coming from for those vehicles?