By Mark Memmott

Steven Chu.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

If he had to choose between having a coal-fired energy plant or a nuclear facility next door to his home, "me personally, I'd rather be living near a nuclear power plant," Energy Secretary Steven Chu tells Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep.

A nuclear plant, he says, produces less pollution and U.S. nuke plants have good safety records. Chu also thinks advances in technology will make storage of nuclear waste less of an issue in coming years.

Here's a piece of their conversation (it begins with Steve Inskeep's voice):

As ME producer Neva Grant writes:

Chu is an optimist. The secretary of Energy, who won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997, believes science can solve many of the nation's energy challenges.
"Scientists by their nature are very optimistic," he says. "We learn about Newton, about Maxwell, about Einstein. And yet you want to do some science that can contribute on the shoulders of those giants---you've got to be pretty optimisitc!"
"That doesn't mean I'm a cockeyed optimist," he adds. "You've still got to come up with the goods."

More from Steve's conversation with Secretary Chu is due on Monday's edition of ME. Click here to find an NPR station near you.

categories: Energy

3:00 - September 11, 2009