Mon March 14, 2011
Bingaman: Don't Halt US Nuclear Plants, Yet
By Elaine Baumgartel
Albuquerque, NM – As the situation with Japan's troubled nuclear power plants continues to evolve today after the devastating earthquake there and the violent tsunami that followed, New Mexico US Senator Jeff Bingaman says he's not yet ready to pause plans for new nuclear power plants in the US. The Democrat says it's still unclear what mistakes or failures caused the explosions and release of radioactive materials into the air above Northern Japan.
"We probably should wait and get a little more definitive analysis before we pass judgment on what they did right and what they did wrong," says the Senator.
Bingaman says the US needs diverse sources of energy, including nuclear power. He says any decisions to put plans for new nuclear power plants in the US on hold should be made once the lessons from Japan's experiences are clear.
"I think nuclear power can be provided in a safe reliable way," says Bingaman. "It's possible that we will learn some things from what's happened in Japan that will persuade us to change designs, and put in place additional precautions."
Bingaman says any new information could then be applied to the current permitting process by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The agency is tasked with ensuring the safety of the US's nuclear power plants.
Reuters reports US Senator Joseph Lieberman said Sunday that he'd like to "put the brakes" on new nuclear power plants in the US until more information is available about what has happened in Japan.
According to reports officials in Germany are shutting down 7 aging nuclear plants during a three month moratorium--while Switzerland has put a hold on all new nuclear plants there.