January 16, 2009

Crapo Meets With Energy Secretary-Designate Chu

Discusses funding for the Idaho National Laboratory

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo discussed issues relating to the Idaho National Laboratory during a meeting with Dr. Steven Chu, President-Elect Obama's designee to be Secretary of Energy. Crapo and Dr. Chu also discussed alternative energy issues, the AREVA enrichment project slated for Idaho and the future of the nation's energy portfolio.

Crapo noted Dr. Chu is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week, as he is considered to be highly qualified due to his background as Laboratory Director at the Lawrence Berkley National Lab in California and having won a Nobel Prize for his work in the physics discipline. He said Dr. Chu was chosen in part because of his strong science background and for his support of developing new domestic energy generation sources, like nuclear and renewable technologies.

"Dr. Chu's knowledge is impressive and he has a deep understanding of the activities and capabilities of the Idaho National Laboratory and the leadership team that we have in place at the Lab," Crapo said. "I also had the opportunity to press the importance of the Yucca Mountain site for the safe and secure disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high level waste that is currently stored in Idaho. While Dr. Chu admitted to the tough political climate facing this issue, he also made it clear that he believes that there is a solution to this problem."

Dr. Chu acknowledged during the meeting that nuclear power has a significant role to play in the nation's future energy mix, recognizing nuclear power's ability to generate large amounts of carbon free electricity. Crapo said Dr. Chu made it clear that he supported continued funding for nuclear research and development and he will be an advocate for the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program, promising to get loans out in a thoughtful but expedited fashion.

"Based on our first meeting it is clear that we will be able to work co-operatively with Dr. Chu to further Idaho's nuclear agenda on all fronts," Crapo said.