Prepared Remarks of NRC Chairman Dale E. Klein
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Budapest, Hungary
September 23, 2008

Equally impressive, from my perspective, is the fact you have sited a low and
intermediate level waste repository—something the United States has not done for
decades. Therefore, I believe that both of our nations can learn from each other. The
HAEA and the NRC already have a strong and long-standing relationship, which I
believe has benefited both our nations;

I see you have an American Hungarian joint flag, where it was coming from.

Well, one of the things is very important is that us regulators, we stick together so me and Dr. Rónaky have been working together for quite some time, and the US and Hungary have had a good regulatory relationship so this demonstrates our 2 countries working together.

In your lecture you have mentioned the renaissance of nuclear energy, as you know we have in this year the year of  renaissance, these harmonize each other. Do you really believe in the renaissance of nuclear energy?

It certainly is a current in the US. We have received 14 applications now for 23 reactors. I think people looking at nuclear with a different like today, part of the reasons is global warming so if we keep burning fossil fuels at the rate that we’re doing…. Nuclear has had a good safety record I think both in the US and in Hungary so people are getting more comfortable I believe with the generation of electricity from nuclear energy.

Iran intends to develop their nuclear technology. Would it not better for Iran to burn their own earth gas, and for Europe to increase the already existing nuclear capacity?

The deal with Iran is a difficult one because most countries are not concerned about Iranian commercial nuclear power, they concerned about the due use of technology that could be used for weapons. So I think in terms of Europe if you look at France, France gets about 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. And they have done that safely for a number of years. So I think Europe as a group be turning more and more to nuclear power simply because of the concern about global warming.

Do you believe in the age of Hydrogen, produced with nuclear power? 
That’s a good question. We are looking for in the US of a gas-coal? (2:47) reactor for the production of Hydrogen. One of the challenges people have though as addition is probably what you have a challenge as well in Hungary. And that’s the distribution of Hydrogen. Currently we pull our cars up to filling stations that exist so there’s a good infrastructure for the distribution of diesel fuel and gasoline. But we don’t have the same distribution for Hydrogen. So I think we’re talking about a solution that’s decades away. Very important solution though to look at Hydrogen, but I think till we get fuel cells and things of that nature it’s going to be difficult to see a massive distribution of Hydrogen, just because of the  ….. of charge 3:23

Last question, will the fusion energy sweep the fission energy?

You know the people working on the fusion solution have said for the past several decades that they would have commercial fusion by the end of the decades. Fusion is very technically difficult, and I don’t expect to see a commercial operating fusion plant in my lifetime. I hope to see a demonstration fusion plant. But technically it’s very difficult and once we’re able to prove a fusion plant then we’ll have to look at the economies and see how it competes with fission.