Amid mounting concerns of a nuclear meltdown at reactor sites in Japan, two members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one Republican and one Democrat, are in agreement when it comes to the continued use of nuclear power in the U.S., while Connecitcut Senator Joe Lieberman (I) is calling for the U.S. to "put the brakes" on nuclear power, at least in the short term.
Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) talked to Fox News on Sunday about why they are standing behind nuclear power as a viable energy source in the United States. Gingrey said now is "not the time to shut down generating electricity from nuclear power." His response was echoed by Pallone who agreed the U.S. should "have nuclear power in the mix." Pallone also noted despite state of the art nuclear systems in the U.S., recent events will prompt calls to recheck systems and consider upgrades to older plants. In addition to nuclear energy, Pallone called for increased use of a variety of other alternative energy sources, including solar and wind power.
Conversely, Joe Lieberman (I) appeared on CBS Sunday, where he called on the U.S. to "put the brakes" on nuclear energy "until we can absorb what's happened in Japan." Lieberman said "23 [U.S. nuclear facilities] are built according to designs that are similar to the nuclear power plants in Japan that are now the focus of our concern." Lieberman doesn't "want to stop the building of nuclear power plants" but is calling for a break to see "what more, if anything, we can demand of the new power plants that are coming online."
The U.S. Geological Survey classified Friday's earthquake as a magnitude 8.9, a powerful quake that quickly triggered a massive tsunami that tore though the coastline, destroying whole towns in its wake.The Fukushima plant, located on Japan's northeast coast has surpassed acceptable radiation limits and officials are furiously working to cool the plant with seawater to prevent a total nuclear meltdown.