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Power Breakfast: Senators Speak About Nuclear Energy

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With Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hailing from the right.

"We don't have a form of energy production in the United States with a better record than nuclear power," Alexander says.

"I don't think we should be making long-term, domestic U.S. policy based on something that happened in another part of the world. We certainly need to observe it, learn from it," McConnell says.

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein sees things from the left side.

"I think there are many lessons to be learned from what's happened in Japan, and we're pretty stupid if we don't learn them," Feinstein says.

Democrats like Feinstein and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are talking about a time-out.

"I think we all pause and examine what happened and what these plants look like. Of course, I mean, we need to have a lot more information than we have now," Brown says.

"We need to have a way for a complete safety assessment," says Feinstein. "I think that's the important thing, particularly plants that are of vintage, plants that are close to faults, plants that are close together. Seems to be that's the emerging no-no."

Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions is okay with doing a review of U.S. facilities, under certain conditions.

"I am not for delays. They delayed in the Gulf and they still haven't started drilling again," he says.

As he sees it, any added hold on new nuclear projects is gilding the cautionary lily. Texas Republican John Cornyn agrees.

"We've had a virtual shutdown of new reactors for the last 30 years, so I don't think we need any more brakes on it, especially if we're going to make ourselves less dependent on foreign sources of energy," he says.

On the flip side, if any sector stands to gain from a nation getting cold feet on nuclear, it's the oil and gas industry.


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