US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has cited family commitments as his reason for resigning and has outlined what he sees as the successes of the US Department of Energy during his time at its head..

His resignation letter raised the issue of how his organisation has reduced America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

“Since 2001 we have developed the nation’s first comprehensive energy plan in over a decade and implemented 90% of its recommendations,” he wrote, adding: “We have launched the most ambitious new energy technology initiatives in the world…”

His letter pointed out that his organisation had “undertaken a whole new wave of technology initiatives aimed at improving the safety and long range stability of nuclear energy as a long-term power source”.

Mr Abraham also wrote that the larger Republican majority in the US Senate following the recent election would allow “much needed” energy legislation finally to be enacted.