Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Bipartisan Push on Nuclear Energy

6a00d834527dd469e2011572101b67970b-500wi Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) co-wrote an op-ed for the New York Times demonstrating that distinguished gentlemen from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum can agree on a few things. Like what, for example?

Second, while we invest in renewable energy sources like wind and solar, we must also take advantage of nuclear power, our single largest contributor of emissions-free power. Nuclear power needs to be a core component of electricity generation if we are to meet our emission reduction targets. We need to jettison cumbersome regulations that have stalled the construction of nuclear plants in favor of a streamlined permit system that maintains vigorous safeguards while allowing utilities to secure financing for more plants. We must also do more to encourage serious investment in research and development to find solutions to our nuclear waste problem.

Incidentally, the first point is that they agree that global warming is real – and the third point is that the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill is a good opportunity to enhance energy security. And there’s a fourth point about not exporting jobs overseas. You can read the article for all that. They’re good points all, but even with our slant, we’d have to say the nuclear provisions are by far the most noteworthy because they indicate what Kerry and Graham find necessary for the legislation to fulfill its goals.

If there’s any downside at all, it’s that nuclear energy is given such a key spot because Kerry and Graham think it might be a harder sell that its renewable cousins. We’ve shown many times that polls (and from firms like Gallup) indicate that nuclear really isn’t that tough a sell. But that’s okay – Kerry and Graham do make the case, they’ve declared themselves publically, and they’re key to the legislation. We’ll take it with bells on.

A true bipartisan barn burner.

We feature Sen. Kerry last week. Here’s his co-writer, Sen. Lindsey Graham.


Phil H said...

Ug. They mention "clean coal" as if it's even remotely possible to clean up that disastrous rock. Even if carbon sequestration could be made to work economically and reliably (and I predict that carbon reliable economical sequestration will come online about the same time as the Jetsons' flying cars), show me the "clean coal" mountaintop removal mine. How about the "clean" slurry pond.

Unless we stop entertaining such OBVIOUS horrible unworkable ideas and get serious we're not going to make any progress on climate change or nuclear power expansion.

gman said...

Read Jeff Goodell's book "Big Coal" to find out why politicians entertain such ideas...

Phil H said...

Excellent recommendation gman. Great book. I second the recommendation.