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After the Ball Is Over

03ne_1860 We provided you with some of the nuclear energy highlights from last week’s hearings on the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill. Now comes the finagling that makes politics so engaging for those who like to follow it, so frustrating for everyone else. This story from the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin explains:

The climate-change bill that has been moving slowly through the Senate will face a stark political reality when it emerges for committee debate on Tuesday: With Democrats deeply divided on the issue, unless some Republican lawmakers risk the backlash for signing on to the legislation, there is almost no hope for passage.

Now, if you’ve followed the health care reform debate, you know such a definite statement to be indefinite until something definite happens – if you know what we mean.

And in the meantime, haggling goes on to see if a more attractive bill can be created via amendment for those who consider it unattractive. Here’s the nuclear takeaway:

So Democratic leaders, with the support of the Obama administration, are trying to sway at least half a dozen Republicans by offering amendments to speed along their top priority: building nuclear power plants.

[Sen. Lindsey] Graham [R-S.C.] has suggested provisions on nuclear power and offshore oil drilling that could win his support for a cap-and-trade climate bill. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) has established a bipartisan working group of 17 Senate offices that is close to producing a detailed amendment aimed at hurrying the construction of U.S. nuclear reactors.

We have no idea what “hurrying” means and will not speculate. (We’re also not sure about “Senate offices.” Might mean Senators, might mean their staffs.) But we’ll be very intrigued to see what Lieberman and crew come up with, it could be what throws that definite statement above off kilter.

And here’s the arithmetic from Graham:

"There is nowhere near 60 votes for a nuclear power bill on its own. There's not 60 votes for a cap-and-trade bill as it's currently constructed," Graham said in an interview. He said combining the two measures is "the only way you'll get to 60 votes."

This is a very unusual blow for bipartisanship in the Senate – not a hotbed of it in recent days. (Remember, Graham co-wrote with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) the much discussed op-ed in the New York Times that stressed a bipartisan solution to this legislation. So he’s in it all the way.)


And here’s an issue that more nuclear energy cannot solve, via ClimateWire’s Christa Marshall:

"There's 34 states with significant economic leverage to coal, either by mining it, burning it or shipping it," said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners. He said only Vermont and Rhode Island lack any financial connection to coal.

So there’s that.

“After the ball is over, after the break of morn, / After the dancers' leaving, after the stars are gone, / Many a heart is aching, if you could read them all.” A mammoth success in 1892, Charles Harris’ After the Ball sold over two million copies of the sheet music – how people enjoyed popular music then, around a piano – in its first year, a record at the time. (I used to hear it whistled or hummed with regularity growing up in the South – I’m not that old, so that’s musical longevity.)


Ioannes said…
Well, it doesn't matter if you post my comments or not, but Reuters reports that Areva stocks are dropping because of concerns over its Plant Automation and Safety Controls - in other words, digital I&C. Imagine - the concern being raised is in France, Britain and Finland, and France is pro-nuke!

I have warned you time and again that this will be the most expensive part of a new nuke plant. And with precautionary principal anti-nuke Jackzo in charge of the NRC in the US, you will see exactly how right I am. But you guys ingratiated yourselves with the anti-nuke Obama crowd and now look at what you got. If France balks at digital I&C, then just imagine what the liberal fruit cakes in Congress and the NRC are going to do.
But you guys didn't want McCain and 40 new nukes right away. Sad. So very sad.
David Bradish said…
it doesn't matter if you post my comments or not

Maybe if you'd refrain from bringing up abortion and religion you may see a few more of your comments published.
Chad said…
If you have a link, that would be helpful.

In any case, that the downfall of the EPR design, relying on active components for safety system activation. Although this should not be hard to accomplish, it does not present a design that is simpler. Without the details, it hard is to make a judgment on whether or not the concerns are warranted.

This is where the AP1000 and ESBWR have an advantage. The ABWRs proposed in Texas is adding digital I&C--we will see what the NRC does.

BTW, you have yet to be right. This congress and administration has been far more pronuclear than most would have thought.
bruce said…
BTW, you have yet to be right. This congress and administration has been far more pronuclear than most would have thought.

In what way is that? The same administration that closed Yucca for good, thereby proving the strongest argument against nuclear power correct: That there is NO waste storage solution. Furthermore at least a dozen states including California have legal provisions preventing a single nuclear power plant from being built until there is a waste storage solution. Then Obama canceled the EPA's reprocessing review, cutting off that bad idea as well. The only thing this administration has not done is cancel the loan provision handouts that Bush and the Republicans gave back in 2005 and were already in the pipeline. I would have liked to see them do that, but oh well no one is perfect. I fail to see any way this administration is "pro-nuclear." Either come up with some evidence or stop making these claims, because it's getting frustrating.

They are on the other hand pro clean and renewable energy, the Stimulus gave over $30 Billion to renewable energy.
D Kosloff said…
Digital controls have been used in US reactor plants for decades. It just has to be done correctly, in accordance with NRC regulations and guidance.
Brian Mays said…
AREVA's official take on the I&C issues has been published on their website and also on their blog.

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