July 02--A group of retired politicians and military members is petitioning the federal government to take "concrete steps" to stop the premature retirement of nuclear power plants, saying the matter is an issue of national security.
The 77 people who signed the letter range from former U.S. senators and cabinet-level bureaucrats to retired military members and businessmen. They sent the letter last week to Rick Perry, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.
In the letter, the officials argued that the U.S. Department of Defense relies on the nation's grid to power almost all of its facilities and equipment, meaning large-scale disruptions of the grid "affect the nation's ability to defend itself."
In addition, the letter stated that the Navy in particular relies heavily on nuclear power and technologies, and that the nuclear industry is "an important career destination" for military veterans.
The conversation surrounding the benefits of nuclear power takes into account issues like grid reliability, carbon-free emissions and jobs. But the issue of national security hasn't properly been integrated into that conversation, the letter argues, and it's up to the Department of Energy to do so.
"We urge you to continue to take concrete steps to ensure the national security attributes of U.S. nuclear power plants are properly recognized by policymakers and are valued in U.S. electricity markets," the letter said.
The Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport was not specifically referenced in the letter.
The letter was signed by people like Stephen Hadley, a former National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush; Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Daniel Akerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors Co.
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