Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time for Nuclear: Gresham Barrett's Energy Plan

webGreshamBarrett52 Representative Gresham Barrett from South Carolina has put forward an energy plan that greatly favors nuclear energy.

The Greenville News' Anna Simon reports:

The legislation will seek to resolve what Barrett called “hindrances” to nuclear development by amending several national energy policies to help with nuclear plant construction, nuclear work force education and the management of spent nuclear fuel. The idea is derived from former South Carolina governor and Secretary of Energy Jim Edwards’ plans to provide more nuclear energy.

And how would Barrett remove those hindrances?

Part of the legislation calls for loan guarantees for technologies that reduce emissions. Regarding construction hindrances, Barrett’s legislation would seek to streamline the licensing process by eliminating mandatory hearings required by the Atomic Energy Act for uncontested issues on every Combined Operating License or Early Site Permit. It would also provide an investment tax credit for new nuclear plant construction and establish a joint Congressional committee on nuclear energy.

And on recycling:

The latter issue will be dealt with in another portion of the legislation, which will call for the creation of a quasi-independent corporation to construct and operate a waste repository.

We pity the "quasi-independent corporation" that tries to do that. Someone really has to solve the NIMBY problem first or it's Yucca mountain all over again.

GovTrack rates Barrett as the most conservative member of the House and he participated in the Republicans' sit-in during the last Congressional recess to try to get Democrats to move on energy issues - well, those the Republicans like, anyway. These factors may make his plan tough to move forward, though there's nothing reported that lays outside mainstream thinking (he hasn't updated his Web site, so we haven't seen the full content of the legislation). Barrett has gathered a bundle of ideas worth taking up; we'll see where it goes from here.

Photo of Gresham Barrett. The Hill ranked Gresham one of the 50 most beautiful people on Capitol Hill, the only elected official in the top 10. Why The Hill would do such a ranking, we have no idea.

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