Skip to main content

Resources And Streamlining in the Senate

sidebar-spent-fuel-1-lg The bipartisan push for a nuclear title in the Senate’s climate change bill picked up considerably today:

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is helping to negotiate a nuclear energy amendment that could help bring aboard swing votes who support the industry. Architects and backers of the nuclear effort include Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who are seeking more federal financial backing and other support.

Lieberman caucuses with the Democrats and of course he and Sen. McCain had a go at a climate change bill in the last Congress. Sen. Graham penned with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) the editorial discussed in a post below. You can search for Sen. Carper on this site, too. He’s a pretty reliable advocate for nuclear energy. In other words, this isn’t a remarkably surprising group.

What is surprising is that they are crossing the aisle so early and so productively.

Carper yesterday declined to endorse the idea that the NRC review process needs to be further streamlined.

"To the extent that people have ideas for further streamlining, should we look at those? Sure. But keep in mind a lot has been done, there is an incredibly heavy workload for the NRC already, and we have got make sure they have the resources they need," [Carper] said.

This seems exactly right. There’s a significant difference between wanting to speed up the process by winnowing out steps and adding resources so the NRC can see the current process through without undue delay due to lack of personnel. That’s “streamlining” of a kind and answers to the need for timely licensing without the NRC becoming a funnel with an extremely thin neck.

The approach laid out by Sen. Kerry the other day – making the bill a framework that will be fleshed out  as it goes forward – is bearing some unusually tasty fruit.

Sen. Tom Carper wants you to know.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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 …

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…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…