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March 14th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

Rep. Markey calls for moratorium on new U.S. nuclear plants

In the wake of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is calling for a moratorium on new nuclear facilities in the United States.

American Morning's Kiran Chetry talks to Rep. Markey about the disaster in Japan and nuclear plans in the U.S.

Filed under: Japan Earthquake • Security • U.S. • World
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Birgit

    These reactors are poorly designed and were built in the 1970's. We would not design or build the same way now. Even so, once meltdown begins – which only requires an interruption in the constant cooling – there is little or nothing we can do. Sorry, no six inches of steel will hold a molten core.

    The waste is toxic. The whole process adds to our vulnerability to terrorist attacks and feeds the weapons cycle.

    If we are ever going to break our insane addiction, it has to be now.

    March 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  2. Dr S

    Pretty duplicitous of Congressman Markey to say on the one hand, he supports nuclear technology through his medical isotope bill (which requires a US medical isotope production reactor to be built), and to fight against nuclear energy. The fear mongering allowed in this country has made us a second rate nation with regard to advanced technology. Its no wonder our young people want to be lawyers and not engineers. In the end, we will have no young nuclear professionals to take up the needed slots from retirees. Nuclear technology is a risk-based enterprise. The Japanese natural disasters have inflicted far more devastation, loss of life, and property than any nuclear mishap. The number killed from radiation release from nuclear energy – with containment, is zero. No one is mentioning that the safety system (e.g. containment) are working, as designed.

    March 15, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  3. Sam

    So Milton, I suppose the steam engine, otherwise known as the largest leap in innovation in transportation and energy since the invention of the wheel, was just an accident?

    March 15, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  4. Bighmontes

    Rep. Markey is an idiot, we need more nuclear power, not less! We need more oil exploration and production, not less! We need more coal mining, not less. I bet he's driving around in a big limo all the time. When are politicians going to get it. We need more intelligence on energy, not less. What a fool.

    March 15, 2011 at 6:00 am |
  5. Ben

    Is this Congressman in the pocket of the natural gas industry? Particularly at 3:30 when he denies the truth that natural gas as an energy source is risky.
    CNN: Try this simple exercise. Add up the number of lives lost in the oil field, natural gas fields and coal mining accidents, combine it with the cost of oil spills and then compare that to the number of lives lost to the nuclear energy industry.
    The fossil fuel industry is cheering today! They can continue to keep fleecing us because of illogical fears over nuclear power plants.
    I do not discount the seriousness of the events happening in Japan, but this is going to be a learning experience for the nuclear energy sector. We haven't had a serious test of nuclear reactor designs.
    It's as if we have added safety features to automobiles but never really test 'crashed' them. Not only have these reactors crashed, they have hit a brick wall at 90 mph, flipped over the ledge of a cliff and falling into the river. And the biggest concern appears to be whether the reactors will run again. That's a pretty good safety response. So far we haven't seen much damage (as far as release of radioactive material). Let's learn from this and improve design and safety features of the next generation of nuclear reactors. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    I would have liked to ask this congressman if he could tell us precisely how many people were killed from radiation poisoning at Chernobyl. Can you?
    More people died in coal mines in the United States alone last year.

    March 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  6. Mac

    Sad ill-conceived knee-jerk reaction. California is the only US location with risks which are even remotely similar to the incident in Japan, and even a small amount of foresight and planning could easily mitigate that risk.

    How do these clueless people get elected???

    March 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  7. julie

    We spent much time trying to close these nuclear plants and passed legislation until GW Bush signed to reopen them.
    I once sat across from a higher up in a local nuclear plant executive, and asked, "How safe are these things?"
    His comment was although we have put in what we "think" is the best safety methods, what they cannot control is human error."
    We live between two of these nuclear plants, and across the lake from 11, we have THE HIGHEST RATE OF CANCER in the nation.
    Many people I have met lived near them all died of cancer.
    The girls I knew that worked in the offices there, stated when they came in these guys dressed up in hazmat suits were out in middle of the night testing well water in the area.
    Other men I knew for fact that every year they remove the insurlation because of leakage. Hasmat suited and yet some of them died because one single molecule in lung. Why? because they leak.
    I also met one diver paid big bucks that told me that the lake cooling the water, if it changes 1/2% it can change and damage the whole eco of the Lake.
    Tell me how we "need" these things? I would rather go back to burning candles and walking where I needed to go.
    After paying Senator Ried's big mountain state reserve to store these things 11 billion dollars. He says after he accepted all this money for his state imto; it was built and then says " Not in my back yard."
    Do you people not remember the two headed cows in upper Michigan that they found empty drums of this stuff, because people in charge of securing waste of them, merely dumped them on the ground? Greed governs all. Tell that senator McConnelly what the truth really is. He represents the party of greed at any cost. He says we need to drill oil in gulf and Alaska, because why buy oil from people who do not like us? Maybe if you stop bombing their countries building pipelines at the cost of their families, we might not be so hated in the world.

    March 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  8. mjw

    Take a look at the map of nuclear plants in the USA. A majority of them are in the midwest and east coast. I have no problem with the nuclear plants. But, the waste they generate should be handled and disposed of within the state or region the plant exists in. The west should not be a dumping ground for nuclear waste generated in the midwest or east coast. Have the midwest and east coast handle, contain and dispose of it in their own back yard.
    Another consideration is to not build nuclear plants on or near active fault zones. Obviously this consideration was ignored in California.

    March 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  9. mike hall

    I do not trust the politicians,

    Why has there been zero reports on the amount of radiaction released...

    How many REM / or MilREM???

    That is the important question, the US allows (1500 milrem) a year!!!

    IF get an Acute rate that is higer you die...

    A chronic dose, you die in a few years... low amounts for extened time...

    If you can not get this number there is a cover-up

    two miles= ??? REM

    10 miles =???REM

    20 miles=???REM

    March 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  10. Milton

    As a left leaning Democrat, the one thing I agree with Republicans about is the need to keep on subsidizing the oil industry , natural gas and nuclear energy. The free enterprise system is a failure, and the Republicans are 100% correct in their policy decisions regarding using the IRS to fund their connections in the energy industry. Americans are not smart enough to understand the way things really work and those people in high places -do- know what's best for us. There is no way a free market can get us new technology and new innovations for creating and conserving energy. It just does not work, and I cannot believe I am saying this, but thank God that the Republicans have always had the foresight to understand this.

    March 14, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  11. Matt J.

    This is the stupid fear mongering that held America back in the production of electricity. This man simply does not make any sense; how is there anything different today than before the Japan earthquake. Let alone his statement about "electric cars"... What difference does it make if we have electric cars, all the more why we would need a new source of grid power.

    Nuclear power is by far the best option as of now for filling our needed energy demands. Solar and wind alone just don't cut it (without much further development and assistive technologies – ie. energy storage).

    That is not to say that nuclear is perfect. Energy production has a cost and nothing we come up with will give it to us for nothing. We just need to understand the costs and find ways to minimize them.

    Thank God the host was able to ask him the hard questions about alternative means of production; showed him for the fool he is.

    March 14, 2011 at 10:42 am |