I appreciate the opportunity to be with you today at this important meeting on the national energy situation . Actually, to an audience such as this, there i s very little that I can add about the nature of the "energy crisis " or "energy dilemma" that we face. I think we all know what the problems are. So, I would like to direct my remarks to what nuclear energy can do to help in solving these problems, or to put it somewhat more colorfully , can nuclear take the heat off oil ?
Today, there , is a growing consensus that nuclear power is destined to play a greatly d role in the nation's future energy economy. Naturally, as a spokesman for Gulf's nuclear activities , I confess that I find this Consensus to be an agreeable one!
But there are still some very real problems ahead which will determine how fast nuclear power can be accelerated in the United States -- problems which require attention now, if this new energy source is to assume its full share of the load in the years to come.
So today, I will try to present a brief overview of the present status of nuclear energy; what the prospects are for increasing its use; and what future technological developments we can foresee, since some of them can have a major bearing on our energy economy of tomorrow. I will also touch upon some of the potentially attractive applications of generating process heat with nuclear fuel that could turn out to be of real help in increasing our domestic supplies, of oil and gas.
We should begin by first looking a t our total energy needs. We are all, aware of the tremendous growth in demand that is forecast between now and the year 2000. But what is significant about this growth trend is that the production of electricity is the fastest growing use of energy.
The recent report on "U.S. -Energy Outlook" by the National Petroleum Council estimated, that between 1972 and 1985, t o t a l U.S. energy consumption will grow at a rate of at least 4.2% a year, and between 1985 and 2000, the forecasters tell us that this growth will continue at only a slightly reduced rate .
But let's take a look at where this energy is being consumed. Industry today is the biggest user, accounting for about a third of the total , and electricity consumption comes next with about a quarter. Transportation also represents about a quarter, and finally , residential uses -- principally home heating -- account- for about 14% of the total demand.
At the same time, it is important to note that this mix of energy consumption is changing and will continue to do so while the total demand goes up. In particular, the demand for energy in the form of electricity is growing at an annual rate about twice that of energy demand as a whole.