Obama pressed to convene nuclear power summit (and invite Bill Gates)

The senators hope the summit could bring together political leaders with private sector executives, including Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft.

“We believe that the White House’s support will be crucial to convene the right leaders in the U.S. government and the private sector to develop a strategy to ensure that nuclear power plays a necessary and vital role in our national energy and environmental policy,” states a letter Thursday led by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio).

They hope the summit could spur development of new reactors, and that it could be held within the next three to four months.

“We would also like to include leaders in the investment community, such as Bill Gates, who have the financial wherewithal to steer markets and interest in potential investments in new nuclear-related technologies,” the letter states.

The senators say the conference could help develop a 50-year strategy to ensure a vital role for nuclear power in domestic energy supplies.

The White House backs nuclear power generation, which does not emit greenhouse gases, as a way to help address climate change. The administration’s fiscal 2011 budget plan calls for an additional $36 billion worth of Energy Department loan guarantees for new plant construction.