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Power Breakfast: The Nuclear Industry Discussed At Capitol Hill

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Suffice it to say, the Capitol is crawling with nuclear industry lobbyists this week. Loosely speaking, members of Congress fall into one of three categories.

There are the committed nuclear advocates - like Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee.

"We have 104 commercial reactors in the country," says Alexander. "There's never been a death in connection with any of them; there's never been a death... never been a death in connection with the nuclear Navy since 1950s, and no one was hurt at Three Mile Island."

Then there are skeptics. Congressman Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, notes that Japan's nuclear industry is capable of putting in place the best available safeguards.

"Obviously it wasn't enough to stop what's happening in Japan. We want to know what planning has been taking place in the U.S., what additional safeguards they may have," says Waxman.

Our theoretical Geiger Counter might be especially noisy around the offices of members like Senator Joe Lieberman.

"I don't favor a moratorium. I don't know enough now to favor a moratorium," Lieberman admits.

The Connecticut Independent now finds himself seemingly back-peddling.

"I'm a strong supporter of building nuclear power plants because this is American-made energy... and don't emit air pollution," he says. "BUT we would be irresponsible if we didn't just step back for a moment and see if there are any lessons for us to learn from what's happened."

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