AIKEN - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu touted both green power and nuclear power Monday during a tour of South Carolina.
Chu attended a morning groundbreaking at the Savannah River Site for a facility that will burn left-over wood products to create steam. Then, during an afternoon a tour of a Greenville plant that makes turbines, he reminded reporters that President Barack Obama is committed to expanding nuclear power.
At the former nuclear weapons site near Aiken, Chu spoke as construction formally began on a $795 million biomass-powered electrical generating facility that will replace a coal-fueled plant built in the 1950s. The old plant would have needed significant work to bring it into compliance with current environmental regulations.
About 800 workers will be needed to help build the new steam-generating station, which will burn 322,000 tons of wood products and shredded tires annually, Chu said.
"By investing in energy efficiency, we are creating good jobs that can't be outsourced," Chu said. "The money from those paychecks will go straight back into the local economy."
Chu then headed to Greenville, where he toured a General Electric plant where 3,000 workers build gas and wind-powered turbines.
The Obama "administration is very supportive of nuclear energy," Chu said.
Chu's final stop in South Carolina was at a Clemson University symposium on green energy.