Skip to main content

Arlen Specter on Nuclear Energy

Arlen Specter Why not? He’s much in the news and now that he’s with the majority party, we’d like to know where he tips the balance. As it turns out:

I think there is no doubt that we need to develop nuclear energy in America because of the great problems associated with the dependence on foreign oil. The issues about safety, I think, are in pretty good shape as long as people stay awake.

Also, in the context on the issues of global warming which we’re talking about, legislation has been proposed to this committee. Senator Lieberman, Senator Warner, Senator Bingaman and I have proposed legislation. Nuclear has a lot to offer because it is clean, so that it would ease up on our problems with global warming as well.

He also voted for a used nuclear fuel repository in 1997.

Now, we should also note that on his page on energy, he does not mention nuclear energy once – Pennsylvania is coal country, so a lot of his attention goes there. There’s also this:

I was proud to support the Senate version of H.R. 6 which promotes biofuels, energy efficiency, vehicle fuel economy and carbon storage. The bill expands upon the ethanol requirements enacted in 2005 and also sets requirements for the use of 3 billion gallons of advanced biofuel (fuel derived from renewable biomass other than corn starch) by 2016, increasing to 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuel by 2022.

Specter seems to favor the broadest energy portfolio possible – we looked around to see if he had slighted any somewhere, but found nothing. All in all, a net gain for nuclear energy in the Democratic Caucus.

Himself. Specter was a Democrat until he ran for Philadelphia District Attorney in 1965 (he ran as a Republican while still registered Democratic, then changed his affiliation) and remained a Republican when he ran for the Senate in 1976 before winning in 1980. Specter now looks to inhabit the conservative edge of the Democratic party just as he served for 30 years at the liberal edge of the Republican party. That’s a pretty good working definition of a moderate in American politics.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Does anyone know his voting record on climate change related bills? This is what really matters, for our industry.

The fact that he's a coal state Senator makes me nervous. His party switch may not matter much, in this regard.

Jim Hopf
Ken said…
He is also from the state where Westinghouse nuclear is located.

The AP1000 can use Thorium based fuels.
Anonymous said…
Ken,

I'm well aware of this. From what I've heard, however, despite Westinghouse's presence, Pennsylvania politicians cater to the interests of the coal industry, NOT the nuclear industry.

One more example of coal's legendary (and inexplicable) political strength, and the nuclear industry's similarly legenday and inexplicable political impotence.

They'll do anything to save coal, despite all of coal's horrible attributes, "in order to save jobs", but they won't lift a finger for nuclear, despite the fact that nuclear power would employ MORE people. Add to this the fact that nuclear jobs are quite desirable, whereas the coal jobs (miner, etc...) they're bending over backwards to save are some of the least desirable jobs in the world.

All we hear about are "coal states" and "coal senators", and how they prevent any real, positive change (e.g., CO2 limits), just because it might hurt coal, and move some people out of those horrible jobs into more desirable ones. Why aren't there any "nuclear" states, or Senators? If anyone can explain it, I'm all ears.

Jim Hopf

Popular posts from this blog

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.

Huh?

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…

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 …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…