With Election Day just one week away, NEI Nuclear Notes is here to provide readers with a handy voter scorecard on nuclear energy. We sent a survey to all 69 Democratic and Republican candidates running for the U.S. Senate (Mark Pryor [D-AR] is running unopposed) and asked these three questions:
1. Does your candidate support the use of nuclear energy as a source of carbon-free electricity in the U.S.?
2. Does your candidate support the expansion of nuclear energy in the United States?
3. Does your candidate support the expansion of nuclear energy in his/her state?
We received completed questionnaires from 31 candidates. Some key takeaways:
- 30 candidates were supportive of the use of nuclear energy in the U.S.
- 30 candidates supported the expansion of nuclear energy in their state.
- Democratic and Republican Senate candidates from: Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Wyoming were in favor expanding nuclear power in their states.
- Challengers submitted 19 questionnaires, incumbents 12.
Alabama - Jeff Sessions (R): Yes, Yes, YesIn lieu of completing the questionnaire, several candidates sent letters of support. A few excerpts:
Alaska - Ted Stevens (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Colorado - Mark Udall (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
Georgia - Saxby Chambliss (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Idaho - Larry LaRocco (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
Jim Risch (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Illinois - Steve Sauerberg (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Iowa - Christopher Reed (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Kansas - Jim Slattery (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
Pat Roberts (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Louisiana - Mary Landrieu (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
Massachusetts - Jeff Beatty (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Michigan - Jack Hoogendyk (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Mississippi - Roger Wicker (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Nebraska - Scott Kleeb (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
Mike Johanns (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
New Hampshire - John Sununu (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
New Jersey - Dick Zimmer (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
New Mexico - Steve Pearce (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
North Carolina - Kay Hagan (D): Yes, Qualified Yes*, Qualified Yes*
Elizabeth Dole (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Oklahoma - Jim Inhofe (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Oregon - Gordon Smith (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Rhode Island - Bob Tingle (R) No No No
South Carolina - Bob Conley (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
Tennessee - Lamar Alexander (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Virginia - Jim Gilmore (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
West Virginia - Jay Wolfe (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Wyoming - Chris Rothfuss (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
Michael Enzi (R): Yes, Yes, Yes
Nick Carter (D): Yes, Yes, Yes
* "If we can find ways to reduce costs, improve safety and find a practical solution for dealing with spent nuclear rods, yes."
[Incumbents are in bold.]
Mark Warner (D-VA)
"Nuclear power should be expanded and should play a role in addressing our energy and environmental needs. Nuclear power generates one-fifth of America's electricity. It holds the potential to provide clean, relatively inexpensive power and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels at a time when prices are rising.
France gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear power and Japan is aggressively building new reactors. If they can do it, so can we. While safety around using nuclear power has improved greatly, we need to invest in research to find a long term solution to storing nuclear waste. And as we look to increase our nuclear energy, nuclear plant security also must be a top priority."
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
"I am proud to represent the people of South Carolina, and I believe that my record on the issues is the best resource for voters as they make decisions about their support. As such, I choose not participate in surveys or pledges.
However, I am a strong advocate for a national energy policy that promotes new technology to meet our growing energy demands and to protect the environment. I believe a new energy policy will help ensure that we continue to enjoy the abundant and comparatively inexpensive power on which our homes and businesses have come to rely. Nuclear power must be a part of the solution. One element of bipartisan energy legislation I have cosponsored allows the recycling of spent nuclear fuel which is an essential step forward to ensure we can build more nuclear plants. I look forward to working with organizations such as yours to develop comprehensive energy legislation which both respects our natural environment and provides for our growing energy demands."