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The new US federal budget proposal released today sets a new deadline for the US to phase out its large-scale nuclear power program.
Starting in 2021, the US will convert its existing fleet of approximately 17,000 reactors into low-carbon energy sources, including wind, solar, low-emission biofuels, and energy storage. If Congress does nothing, the country will not achieve that goal until 2028, according to the report.
These new clean energy targets align with previous Obama administration goals to reduce carbon pollution and reduce US greenhouse gas emissions, as required by the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, signed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015. The new budget proposal follows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent release of updated energy policy guidance, detailing the government’s roadmap to an international target of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“With the new budget blueprint, President Trump is signaling that he is ready to walk away from the path to a safe, clean energy future,” said Michael Shellenberger, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute and a former DOE official, in a statement.
These are important changes—if not the full budget—because it makes clear that the US is willing to put its long-term interests and public health first.
Trump’s latest budget proposes cutting the US Department of Energy (DOE) by $7.8 billion, leaving the department with just $1.9 billion in funding under the president’s proposed 2018 budget—a 19 percent reduction, or $1.8 billion, more than under President Obama’s 2015 budget proposal. This $7.8 billion budget request includes an initial $10 billion cut to the National Nuclear Security Administration, where research and development for new weapons is conducted—a direct slap in the face to the Obama administration’s commitment to work with the private sector on low-carbon technologies.
Trump also proposed slashing $6 billion from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program, which promotes energy efficiency policies like demand response (using new fuel types to mitigate peak demand) or efficiency standards.
The Trump budget also
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