Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., says there may be lessons to learn from the nuclear disaster in Japan, but stopping production of nuclear power plants should not be one of them.
“We want a lot of reliable, clean electricity, and I don’t see any other choice,” he said on Fox and Friends this morning.
Alexander said that despite the tragedy in Japan, it’s important to continue building more power plants, noting that nuclear power has been very safe in the United States.
“We’ve had gas explosions and coal explosions and oil spills, and deaths have come from those,” he said. “In our 104 commercial reactors, we’ve never had a death; we’ve been operating nuclear reactors in the Navy since the 1950s, never had a death. We had one bad accident in Three Mile Island and not a single person was hurt. We need to learn from Japan, but go ahead with our own power program.”
Alexander’s statements put him in line with a growing consensus that now is not the time to abandon our nuclear program. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have both expressed the need to continue expanding our nuclear power capacity.
Not everyone agrees. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., wrote a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calling for a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants.