Recently France, a leader in nuclear energy, dropped targets for renewable energy in favor of prioritizing nuclear energy. The French government’s continued investment into nuclear energy allows us a glimpse its potential should we decide to follow the same path. We once saw the ability to power our society with the power of the atom as an impossibility. However, through decades of nuclear operation, we have discovered nuclear power to be one of the safest and cleanest forms of energy. As President Ronald Reagan once said, “One of the best potential sources of new electrical energy supplies in the coming decades is nuclear power.”

Tragedies such as Fukushima and Chernobyl still linger in the minds of many. However, it is important to note that Fukushima had no nuclear radiation casualties and Chernobyl was managed by an ineffective government. Many nations around the world with proactive governments have proven the safety of nuclear power. In France, 70% of its electricity come from nuclear power. Despite heavy reliance upon nuclear energy, no major incidents have occurred. This helps demonstrate the fact that nuclear energy, if managed correctly, is safe and can used for good.

Currently, the United States provides money and incentives to wind and solar while nuclear power plants face heavy regulations. Adding to this, many states have added even more regulations on top of the federal regulations. Even worse, some states completely ban nuclear power, like Minnesota has. We should work towards ways to deregulate both on the state and federal level to allow us to build more nuclear power plants in a timely manner. Right now, it takes 20 years to build a nuclear power plant due to the overwhelming regulations. In other nations, it only takes 5 years to build power plants.

The federal government claims that it chooses to invest in renewables because wind and solar is the path to a “greener” future. The facts prove otherwise. Wind turbines have to be replaced every 20 years, creating a massive waste of wind turbine blades as time goes on.  Meanwhile, solar panels contain cadmium, a poisonous element which, if leaked, can severely harm the environment. Solar panels also contain lead and sulfuric acid, both of which are highly toxic to the environment. Nuclear power, however, creates zero emissions. Additionally, it is far easier to dispose of and remove nuclear waste and ensure that it cannot harm the public.

Our first goal should be to advocate for the deregulation of nuclear energy on a federal level to allow it to expand. Texas should lead the nation by investing in nuclear energy and combining the affordability and reliability of fossil fuels with nuclear energy to make up for the ineffectiveness of wind and solar. In doing so, Texas will have an abundance of energy and create a truly indestructible Texas Grid. Governor Greg Abbott recently said, “Once thing we are looking at with a keen eye is the ability to expand our capabilities with regard to nuclear generated power.” This shows how bright the future of Texas could be in the field of nuclear power as more leaders in the state start to advocate for nuclear.