In its recently released party platform, the Democratic Party says it favors a “technology-neutral” approach to energy that includes “all zero-carbon technologies, including hydroelectric power, geothermal, existing and advanced nuclear, and carbon capture and storage,” Robert Bryce writes in an article published Sunday on the Forbes blog. The statement marks the first time since 1972 that the Democratic Party has said anything positive in its platform about nuclear energy, according to Bryce.
Bipartisan agreement: According to Bryce, the change in policy is good news—and long overdue—for the American nuclear energy sector and for everyone concerned about climate change. The Democrats’ new position means that for the first time since Richard Nixon was in the White House, both the Republican and Democratic parties are officially on record in support of nuclear energy.
Bryce writes that a high-ranking official at the Department of Energy told him about a decade ago that a big problem with nuclear energy is that it needs bipartisan support in Congress. That wasn’t happening, he said, because “Democrats are pro-government and antinuclear. Republicans are pronuclear and anti-government.” That partisan divide is apparent in the polling data. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 65 percent of Republicans strongly favored nuclear energy but only 42 percent of Democrats did so.
Bottom line: The essential point of the column is that talking about changing our energy and power systems is easy. Making real change happen takes decades and is staggeringly expensive.