Skip to main content

Barbara Boxer Embraces Nuclear Power

Not all was lost in the Lieberman Warner bill debacle; Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has publicly stated her support for nuclear energy. From MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday,
Scarborough:...Let me ask you, this is one that you may disagree with me on, but France, a [sic] 75% of its energy coming from nuclear power. Europe is moving in that direction and they are doing it because they believe that's the best way to cut carbon emissions. Why can't we figure out a way to safely regulate nuclear power so we could cut all those greenhouse gases overnight?

Boxer: There's no question that nuclear is going to be part of the solution. The thing is, we have got to get an answer to disposing of the waste. That is a big question mark. But I went to France to see what they do and Joe, it's amazing. Because they have no other way to get energy, you are right. They rely on this. They have put the whole power of the government behind the safety question. Here, we don't do that. So i think if you had, if you make sure that it was safe and that we really worked harder to make it safe, it would have more acceptance. But let me say under any scenario we are going to see more nuclear power because it's going to be more cost effective once there is a price on carbon and that's why we need a global warming bill.
The video is available here. (Nuclear-related comments appear at the 4:20 mark.)


Anonymous said…
Boxer said,

"They have put the whole power of the government behind the safety question. here, we don't do that. so i think if you had, if you make sure that it was safe and that we really worked harder to make it safe, it would have more acceptance."

Boxer is an idiot - nuclear is safe and the NRC (part of the govt that she loves so much) ensures that.

Anonymous said…
Oh, and if Boxer doesn't believe that, then let her consider the following:

A tornado recently hit a research reactor building in Kansas. Guess how many died? ZERO! How many injured? ZERO. Amount of damage to the reactor? ZERO.

Kinda puts the anti-nuke ranting in its place, huh?

Stupid liberal politician.
William said…
Why the partisan slam? The only way nuclear moves forward in the US is to stop with the trash talking and find common ground on nuclear. I think Boxer is doing that.
Anonymous said…

The only thing better would be Harry Reid making similar remarks.
gunter said…

The KSU research reactor is a 1,250kilowatt TRIGA reactor. This type of reactor requires no active cooling--- so what's your point?
Brian Mays said…

Wasn't Davis-Besse hit by a tornado 10 years ago?

I think that you'll agree that Davis-Besse requires active cooling, no?

How many people were killed? How much damage was done to the reactor?
Joseph Somsel said…
Senator Boxer's first elected position was as my county supervisor in Marin County, California. One of her first initiatives was to try and push through a county statute banning radioactive materials. I quickly contacted every radioactive material license holder in the county including the hospitals, engineering inspection companies, and even the local yacht chandlery (glow-in-the-dark nautical compasses.)

Turns out her real goal was to prevent fuel shipments to a nuke on the North Coast that would have had to traverse Marin County by rail.

With organized pushback, the proposed rule was quickly watered down to a "sense of the board" resolution.

If Senator Boxer is now willing, based on her increased wisdom, to restrain her opposition to nuclear, we should welcome her conversion.

I suspect she realizes that she and her fellow Democrats are now extremely exposed politically based on their decades of anti-energy policy.

That's the way the game of politics is played in a democratic republic.
kb said…
@ joseph somsel
Interesting stuff. Thanks for the comment.
Anonymous said…
Surely she has been replaced by a doppelganger.
Anonymous said…
The obvious safety of the KSU reactor didn't stop NRC from urgently "sending an NRC inspector" to maintain its fear-mongering msg.
Anonymous said…
Joseph S.,

Would Boxer's proposed statute pass muster with the courts? I thought that federal law takes precedence in regulation of radioactive materials. There would probably be Constitutional issues as well (interstate commerce and the like). Our local county commissioners tried something similar sometime back. The courts ruled that they could not prohibit shipments of rad materials to local users. The only thing they could do was require that "through" shipments of "hazardous materials" avoid the downtown area, and use the interstate bypass around town. As that did not add an undue burden to shippers, they let that one stand.
Joseph Somsel said…
"Would Boxer's proposed statute pass muster with the courts?"

That was one of the issues that was raised both with the County Attorney and publicly at the first scheduled meeting of the Board. Clearly, it would not have stood a legal challenge but it would have used county taxpayer dollars to tie up transport in the courts. The process can be the punishment in the US legal system. Remember, anti-nuclear folk are happy to conduct economic warfare.

Boxer tried to push this through without adequate noticing too, announcing the proposed statute one week and hoping to vote on it the next. Fortunately, we rallied in time to block it.
gunter said…
Anon and Brian,

The path of the tornado that "hit" Davis-Besse went between the cooling tower and containment so I wouldn't call that a demonstration, per se.

Also not sure of the force levels?

It was strong enough to take out the offsite power where the emergency diesels struggled on and off for the several hour duration of the outage---with both emergency backup power trains down just as offsite was restored. Even with the battery backup I would say this event was more in the category of "close call" or "near miss" than a demonstration of the robustness and resislence of safety systems.

More impressive are photos of the tornado that obliterated La Plata, MD (Catagory F4) taken by an anonymous worker from one of the decks of Calvert Cliffs as the funnel passes within a mile of the facility. If you havent seen them anybody that wants the jgps can respond with an email address and I am happy to send. Sorry Anon.

Given an F4 or F5 where the diameter of the funnel on the ground in some cases has been described as as much as a mile and more across, I hold out more hope for the bunkered-type dry cask storage systems than the individual upright casks as out on the open tarmac at North Anna.

How would you like to see one of those babies rolled into each other or pitched?
Joffan said…
... more hope for the bunkered-type dry cask storage systems than the individual upright casks as out on the open tarmac at North Anna.

How would you like to see ... those babies rolled into each other or pitched?"

That would make a hell of a video... but I don't think there would be any resulting problem, given the level of resilience that is engineered into those casks and of course their sheer density, making them poor fliers in the first place.

Depite the lack of serious threat, I'm sure some terrorist organisation like NIRS would attempt to foment panic in the local population.
Anonymous said…
"some terrorist organisation like NIRS"

Does anyone monitor this blog for libelous statements?
David Bradish said…
Anon, you're right.

Joffan, I respect your opinion but we both know that label is wrong and adds nothing to the debate.
Joffan said…
Did I say "terrorist"? I'm so sorry, please strike that.

Of course I only meant "an organization which advances its agenda through the cultivation of public fear based on misinformation". I should wait until someone actually gets killed in an unnecessary panic before I start handing out the ultimate label. The many thousands of avoidable coal-power deaths in the last twenty years are probably not sufficiently directly linked to warrant the description.
Anonymous said…
The poster assumes that the public his utility industry is dedicated to serving has no more analytical skills than a group of mentally challenged children. That's insulting at best.

What's the scenario here? NIRS hands out a few anti-waste-cask pamphlets and everyone downtown runs screaming into traffic? Yeah, that'll happen.
Joffan said…
Remind me, why do coffee shop cups have "Caution, this beverage may be hot" written on them?

The scenario is that an antinuke organization undertakes a long-term program of media indoctrination and fearmongering so that minor incidents produce public overreaction. I'm not talking about something they do on the day of a minor incident.

Incidentally, my comments are mine alone. My work is not in the nuclear or power generation industries.
Anonymous said…
"I'm not talking about something they do on the day of a minor incident."

OK, but I still don't see how people end up getting killed. Has there ever been a fatal panic reaction due to a minor nuclear incident? This scenario still assumes that most members of the general public are idiots, which is incredibly condescending.

"OH NO, a cask fell off a truck! Let's all drive really fast on the wrong side of the road, like NIRS told us!"

come on

This must be why nuclear advocates are having anti-nuke protesters dragged out of public meetings in Idaho in handcuffs for just sitting there. Now we know it's a public safety matter: Can't take any chances on mass traffic chaos due to anti-nuclear-incited confusion!
Joffan said…
How is it condescending to assert that people given misinformation make bad decisions?

As for your supposedly sarcastic response, I could imagine that a cask being transported might be in a road accident; that the road would be closed while the cask was put on another truck; and that by chance someone arriving at the scene, when told of the problem would react by driving away and making rash decisions about overtaking on their hasty retreat. Their decisions on the relative risks of overtaking would be based on the exaggerations fed to them about the risks of the spent fuel.

I note that trend of misinformation extends to your description of one (singular, not plural) deliberately provocative activist being escorted under arrest, not dragged, from a meeting that, although open to the public, had rules of order that he persistently broke.
Anonymous said…
One can "imagine" a lot of things, particularly about groups that they hate and disagree with. I'd still like to see one demonstrated instance of a fatal overreaction to anti-nuclear "misinformation."

As for the arrested protester, I'm still not clear on how sitting and listening to a meeting is "disturbing the peace"
Joffan said…
Rickards' arrest was for trespass, not for disturbing the peace. He was given opportunities to leave the meeting without arrest, an option which was taken by others engaged in activites outside those permitted by the meeting organizers. He chose to be arrested.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…