The administration and Congress remain supportive of the nuclear power during a Wednesday House joint commitee hearing despite the failings of the Japan’s nuclear power facilities.
During the joint hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committees, House Representatives expressed their continued desire to build more nuclear power plants in United States.
“We have to look to clean power in natural gas in nuclear energy,” stated Rep. Gene Green (D-Tx) in the hearing. Several other lawmakers also pressed for additional creation of nuclear power
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who was present to discuss the Department of Energy’s fiscal year 2012 budget, shared that President Barack Obama is “looking for lessons in the Japanese tragedy."
He also confirmed during the hearing Wednesday that money is still in the budget for new nuclear power plants and that the administration still plans to move forward with the construction of the plants looking to move forward.
Speculation the administration would shut down plans for new nuclear facilities after Japan’s first plant explosion last week. Previously, the nuclear disasters in the Chernobyl, Ukraine and Three Mile Island have led to nuclear slowdowns in the United States.
However, Chu emphasized that there is no chance of a Chernobyl type event because the Ukranian plants had a different design. The current U.S. nuclear power plants have modern designs similar to that of Japan’s.
This information has led many U.S. officials to fear a similar fate in the event of a unforeseen natural disaster.
An unforeseen earthquake and 23-foot tsunami rocked the Asian country last Friday. In the aftermath of natural disaster, Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a number of explosions. Two explosions, one on Saturday and another on Monday, destroyed the tops of two buildings housing reactors at the plant.
An explosion Tuesday in another reactor “may have affected the integrity of the primary containment vessel,” the International Atomic Energy Agency reported. Fires after the Unit 2 explosion has allowed radioactivity to escape directly into the atmosphere.
Southern Baptist Ethic and Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land told theChristian Post that the Japanese plants were antiques compared to America's plant. To shut down nuclear energy in the US over tragedies in Japan would “a tragedy,” stated Land in his March 11 radio show . He emphasizes there are vast differences between America and Japan.
“The whole of japan is an earthquake zone,” he described. “Only small parts of America are earthquake zones.”
He recommended building in Ohio, Minnesota and Kansas; places he said are not prone to earthquakes and tidal waves. However, Land said skipping over nuclear power is not an option.
“If we do not want to see a substantial drop in our standard of living in the next couple of years in the United States, we need to be building nuclear power plants,” urged Land.
For Rose Marie Berger, contributing editor for faith-based social network Sojourners, the problems at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi is a cause for American concern
“The arguments made by the nuclear industry today are that huge improvements have been made in the safety and efficiency of nuclear energy production,” she wrote in blog. “But the nuclear corporations still have no answer to radioactive waste or the multi-generational devastation to all living creatures when the unforeseeable occurs - as has happened in Japan.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission shut down plans for a nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. House members revived discussion of the facility during the Wednesday hearing.
On Tuesday, President told Pittsburgh television station KDKA that all energy sources have their downsides. However he insisted that the U.S must to look at the full array of energy options.
Currently the United States generates 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. By contrast, other European countries such as France garner as much as 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy.
Lawmakers expressed desire to up the creation of clean energy to 80 percent. Land told CP that the United States would have to a national commitment nuclear energy similar to that of mission to go to the Moon in order to reach the 80 percent goal. If America does make the switch to nuclear power, Land says America will achieve its clear energy goals, lesson its dependence of foriegn oil and allieviate the financial burden of the poor.