With the same rationale as Japan once had, the President still wants more nuke plants.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is not backing down from the President’s budget request for adding $36 billion in federal loan guarantees for new reactors. Why? Because it will help the U.S. meet Obama’s goal of getting 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from “clean” sources by 2035, he said.
That’s the same reason Japan put itself at risk with plants that we now know to be unstable. Until now, Japan was boasting that nuclear power was well on its way to reducing the nation’s carbon emissions to 75 percent of 1990 levels by 2020.
Longtime nuclear foes in Obama’s party are not heeding his call, using this moment to press their cause:
“Congress “should not accept the industry’s assurances without conducting our own independent evaluation of the risks posed by nuclear reactors in the United States and the preparedness of industry and regulators to respond to those risks.” — Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey
Japan’s gamble was especially risky for such an earthquake-prone nation. But the U.S. also has plenty to worry about. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is raising concern on Capitol Hill about two nuclear plants in her state that are designed to withstand earthquakes only up to magnitude 7 and 7.5. The earthquake that devastated Japan last week measured 9.
Worried nuclear industry lobbyists, who spent around $6 million in Washington last year, are assuring lawmakers that all is well with our plants. That’s probably what the Japanese were told.