No Rush to Judgment on Nuclear Power, Senate Leaders Say

It’s not often “you encounter bipartisanship around the Senate these days in an environment flush with tense arguments over spending, the debt, and deficits, but a rare moment revealed itself on, of all topics, nuclear power generation in the wake of the crisis in Japan,” Fox News reports.

There are, of course, ardent opponents of this particular type of energy with fears heightened as explosions at Japanese nuclear plants emit radiation into the surrounding environment. But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his GOP counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both urged caution saying that now is not the time to rush any decision-making about U.S. nuclear energy policy.

"I think we ought not to make American…domestic energy policy in the wake of a catastrophic event," McConnell told reporters, adding, "I just don’t think we ought to, in the wake of a crisis, be making long-term decisions about America’s energy efficiency."

Echoing that sentiment, though he did say hearings are likely, Reid said, "I believe we have to have a time-out here with the situation in Japan. I don’t think there should be a mad rush to say nuclear power generation is bad. I think we need a time out to take a look at it and let’s have the experts tell us some things that could have been done better."

[…]

And though Reid said Congress should examine the industry, he quickly added, "I think the main issue is, let’s just not be rambunctious. Let’s take our time."

In a similar fashion, ABC News reports that the “Senate’s top Democrat on energy issues said [Tuesday] that the US should continue to pursue new nuclear power options.”

On ABC’s “Top Line” [Tuesday], Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman told us that while it’s too early to draw conclusions about safety concerns based on what’s happening in Japan, it doesn’t change the fact that nuclear power can and will be produced safely in the United States.

“We have depended on nuclear power for many decades to meet much of our electricity needs, and I think we will continue to in the future,” said Bingaman, D-N.M. “And I do believe we can produce power safely. We’ve done that. We’ve done it for many decades.”

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Filed under Energy, Interviews, Party Leadership

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