Sen. Graham Seeks to Allay Nuclear Concerns With Visit to S.C. Power Plant

As the world watches the ongoing crisis at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, a U.S. senator hopes to allay concerns in the United States by visiting a nuclear facility in his home state.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is scheduled to tour Duke Energy's Oconee Nuclear Station Tuesday afternoon in upstate South Carolina.

"He wants to let people know that nuclear power's safe," Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop said. "It's reliable."

The Fukushima disaster occurred at a time when nuclear power seemed poised for a comeback in the U.S., with the nation seeking to increase its energy independence while reducing carbon emissions.

The last new plant was licensed in 1978 -- a year before a partial reactor core meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pa., bolstered opposition to nuclear power.

It's unclear what impact the current crisis in Japan will have.

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu expressed confidence in the safety of American plants, but suggested federal regulators may review the proximity of nuclear power plants to major population centers.

"Where we site reactors going forward will be different than where we might have sited them going past," Chu said. "Any time there's a serious accident, we have to learn from those accidents and go forward."

Living close to a nuclear facility is of little concern to Graham, according to his communications director.

"He lives five miles from the Oconee nuclear power plant," Bishop explained. "He sleeps better in his house at night than he does in Washington, D.C."