Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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.


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...


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