The U.S. government has no plans to shut down or even significantly reduce the number of nuclear power plants, a top Energy Department official said Tuesday.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said he thinks that there are a lot of people out there who want to try and shut down the industry.
“I think there are some who are trying to get it shut down,” Moniz told CNBC’s Terry Moran.
“We have not put out a firm timeline.
But we are not going to shut it down.”
But Moniz stressed that he’s not looking to shut off the nuclear industry.
He said the goal is to continue producing a lot more nuclear power.
He also said that he has been told that there will be a shutdown of a few reactors at the end of the decade and that the government will have to do more.
The U.K.-based Nuclear Fuel Cycle Research Corporation (NFFC) has been conducting a study of graphite-rich uranium since the 1970s, and Moniz has said that the U.N. would be able to shut that reactor down if the U and Japan can’t agree on a price.
That deal has been in the works for decades, but has stalled for reasons Moniz says the government does not understand.
But Monoz said there will not be a sudden halt to U.s. nuclear energy production.
“I think the people who have been talking about shutting it down, the nuclear scientists, the people that know about it, I think that that will take a long time,” he said.
He said that while there is a need for additional uranium in the U to power new reactors, the U is already producing enough of the material to meet the demand.
Moniz said that although he’s never been in a nuclear accident, he has never seen a reactor go into meltdown.
He added that he did not think that nuclear power would ever go away.