GOP, Dems come together around the glow of nuclear power
The one place where Republicans and Democrats may be able to come together over climate change and lowering emissions is nuclear energy.
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to discuss a bipartisan bill that supports the advancement of new nuclear reactors, while pointing out that nuclear power is a “zero air-emissions technology.”
Nuclear energy proponents say any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must include nuclear power in the mix, not just solar and wind as the Obama administration appears to favor in its Clean Power Plan.
It may be a meager meeting of the minds, but the bill provides “a sense of congress that nuclear fission and fusion represent an opportunity for high energy density, zero air-emissions technology development of national importance to scientific progress, national security, energy R&D, and space exploration.”
There appears to be a lot of room for agreement in that list, which is probably why it has the backing of both the committee’s Republican chairman, Lamar Smith of Texas, and the top Democrat on the panel, Eddie Bernice Johnson, also from Texas.
Johnson, Smith and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber, another Texan, along with 18 co-sponsors, introduced the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act before President Obama visited Paris to start negotiations on a global climate change deal.
The bill seeks to join the federal government with private companies to develop advanced nuclear power reactors by using the Energy Department’s world-class fleet of research labs.
“The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) national laboratory complex originated from the Manhattan Project [that developed the Atom Bomb during World War II] and since then has provided the facilities and expertise necessary to conduct research and development for military and civilian applications of nuclear energy,” the committee said.