Senate looks to nuclear power

Bipartisan effort to expand nuclear power has begun.

In an effort to seal a deal with Senate Republicans on climate and energy reform, Democrats are considering providing $100 billion in loan guarantees and research money for nuclear energy solutions. Introduced by Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Jim Webb, D-Va., the measure may end up being necessary in order to garner the 60-vote majority for both cap-and-trade and nuclear energy expansion. The money would effectively triple the amount currently allocated by the federal government for these purposes. We applaud these efforts. Nuclear energy is working effectively in Europe, and itâÄôs cost-comparable to fossil fuel sources. On top of that, thereâÄôs an urgent demand domestically as well as abroad to slash our nationâÄôs disproportionately large carbon emissions. If the United States is going to quickly and efficiently change the way it produces its energy, more research and investment into nuclear solutions is necessary, especially into safe and long-term management of nuclear waste. The Yucca Mountain storage facility, or something like it, will be necessary so that we can start consolidating the waste currently held at some 132 sites around the nation. The calculated risk of nuclear energy will only pay off if we develop exhaustive systems for safe transport and storage of waste. While Congress should not rush to push this legislation through âÄî health care reform clearly takes precedence âÄî weaning the nation off fossil fuels should be a short-term priority. Furthermore, nuclear energy would be a solid bipartisan compromise âÄî a commodity that has been in short supply in Washington as of late.