OAK RIDGE, TN – Sen. Lamar Alexander (R–Tenn.) has proposed “launching a five-year New Manhattan Project to put America firmly on the path to clean energy independence within a generation.” 

Alexander, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said he chose the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for his address because “this was one of three secret cities that were the principal sites for the original Manhattan project that split the atom to build the bomb that won World War II,” according to www.electricdrive.org.

Alexander proposed seven “grand challenges” and asked scientists to help identify the steps to take during the next five years to meet those challenges so that America can be “firmly on the road to clean energy independence within a generation.” They are:

1. Make plug-in electric cars and trucks commonplace.

2. Make carbon capture and storage a reality for coal-burning power plants.

3. Make solar power cost competitive with power from fossil fuels.

4. Safely reprocess and store nuclear waste.

5. Make advanced biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline

6. Make new buildings green buildings.

7. Provide energy from fusion.

Alexander is chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Republican Conference and co-chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority Congressional Caucus. He is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees clean air and climate change issues, as well as the Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.