Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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.

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…