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Trump's nuclear adviser offers insight into GOP candidate's thinking

Former American Nuclear Society President Donald Hoffman isserving as an adviser on both sides of the U.S. presidential campaign but hasrevealed he is writing policy for Donald Trump.

Hoffman said at an Oct. 6 energy conference hosted by theUnited States Energy Association in Washington, D.C., that he serves as thesole nuclear power expert on the Republican presidential candidate's advisoryTrump Leadership Council. He revealed that a lot of fossil fuel experts with "famousnames" serve on the council as well, but said he was surprised that no onewas representing renewables.

"The way you control your own destiny is often do allthe work and they'll let you lead," Hoffman said about his advisory role. "SoI had everybody … agree to let me establish and develop all the policies sothey would review those. So … essentially what I am doing is writing all thepolicies for Mr. Trump … to try to assist him and hopefully whoever he appointsto be secretary of energy."

Hoffman co-chaired the ANS taskforce to save America'sexisting nuclear fleet earlier this year and now heads two consulting firms. Hesaid he has also met with the staff of Hillary Clinton and is set to meet withthe Democratic presidential candidate herself in two weeks to advise her aswell since energy is a "bipartisan issue."

In an interview, Hoffman said he wants to see arestructuring of electricity markets and changes to the U.S. EPA's Clean PowerPlan that recognize and incentivize positive attributes of each energy sourcewhile penalizing negative ones. One positive model for nuclear that he citedwas New York state's recently approved zero-emissions credits, which recognizethe reliability and emissions-free characteristics of nuclear generation bycompensating three upstate nuclear plants that are at-risk of closing due toeconomic reasons. Hoffman said he is also receptive to introducing a carbonprice in electricity markets.

"Right now, like it or not, the only baseloadenvironmentally friendly source of energy is nuclear," Hoffman said. "Itis the only [one] that's non-carbon emitting yet is a baseload, dispatchabletype of source. That cannot be lost on the public or in the new administration;and as a result needs to be leveraged and utilized now."

Hoffman said Trump has been "very positive" aboutenergy from a business point of view during the three times they met. "Whathe has said to us behind the scenes is a little different from what he has said… to everybody else," Hoffman said. "He's very astute, veryintelligent, has very insightful questions and acknowledges and recognizes thatwe need to revisit the markets and to revisit the business of electricity andmake sure that it is being addressed sensibly."

Hoffman acknowledged that Trump probably has not been "fullyinformed of all the things that he needs to know, but typically an executivelike that isn't."

In contrast, Hoffman said Clinton believes in climatechange. "She said, after we met with her staff, that she believes innuclear and she believes that we need to do more research and development; andprovide for funding for those kinds of things, which contribute to our beingable to stem the negative impacts of climate change," he said. "That'sall that you can hope for from a nuclear standpoint. And while Mr. Trump hasnot said that, I believe he believes that and so that it is my sincere hopethat whichever administration is elected will continue towards a sensibleapproach to energy."