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  1. I looked at S. 2012 – The Energy Policy Modernization Act (EPMA) I do not understand why this is considered important. I see that anti-nuclear zealot (and natural gas monger) Sen. Markey’s amendment to it passed handily. I could not access what this was. Probably not good.

    1. It appears there were two bills: S. 2461 and S.2012, of which 2461 is a part. From James Conca’s write-up:

      “The legislation [S.2461], introduced by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), directs the U.S. Department of Energy to prioritize partnering with private innovators on new reactor technologies and the testing and demonstration of new reactor designs. The measure is cosponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), an unusually bipartisan group for nuclear energy, signaling a shift in views on nuclear in light of climate change and grid reliability.”

  2. Color me disappointed in Carol Browner.  The facts behind her epiphany were so obvious, I’ve been telling anyone who’d listen for nigh unto 4 decades.  Further, they were in her area of specialty so she had no excuse for ignorance.

    I think something else is behind her conversion.

    1. @E-P

      I’m guessing that Ms. Browner didn’t spend much time within hearing distance of your commentary. It wasn’t that she wouldn’t listen, but she was inside a certain kind of bubble.

      1. She had to have had all the facts I did and then some, and she should have noticed that they didn’t mesh with the zeitgeist in the bubble; either she was truly clueless and unfit for the position, or is a political opportunist (and will likely sell out the nuclear renaissance if it fits her agenda).  There really is no excuse for some things.

    2. I can be very naïve, however, I am going to give Carol Browner the benefit of the doubt. I believe she is a true convert to nuclear. Maybe not a zealot, but a supporter nonetheless.

      1. The thing to watch out for is when former opponents who are recipients of such “epiphanies” turn and scuttle new initiatives at crucial times.  If you think the FF industry doesn’t have the pull to plant agents who’ll turn around and act in their interest before the opposition can deal with the reversal, you haven’t paid attention to history.

        1. @E-P

          Your caution is understandable, but it should not extend to stiff-arming genuine converts.

          It’s always smart to carefully watch the converts in any situation for indications that they are going to return to old ways, but true converts can be extremely active and valuable assets, especially compared to tired and jaded people who have always been on “our side.”

          1. I don’t suggest stiff-arming them.  I suggest restricting them to roles well outside of leadership, so that the damage from any return to previous form is limited.

          2. Nobody can preach like the converted former sinner. If she has had a “Road to Damascus” moment, then by all means let her preach.

            But I agree with Engineer-Poet that it would be foolish to put too much faith in her conversion and give her too much responsibility at this time. Let her evangelize for a while before giving her too much credit.

  3. Apparently there is some question as Carol Browner’s prior “anti-nuclear” sentiments. When she was with the Clinton Administration, can anyone cite one single anti-nuclear statement from her?

    This “used to be” stance, on a wide range of subjects, can often be subterfuge, designed to convince the naive or uninformed that credible information was found that prompted an epiphany. Often, that “information” is not actually disclosed, if in fact it even existed. Absent any actual past anti-nuclear statements from Browner, what assurance is there that she’s not simply a paid schill for NE industry?

    1. @poa

      According to a New York Times article from November 2, 1993, Ms. Browner was the point person for a Clinton Administration effort to establish a world-wide band on disposing of low level radioactive material at sea. That plan was strongly opposed by the U.S. Navy.

      The idea of a comprehensive ban had been vigorously opposed by the Navy, which has argued that the United States should not omit the possibility that new technologies might eventually insure the safety of disposing low-level waste at sea.

      France has been strongly opposed to a global ban, along with Britain. Japan’s Environment Ministry, however, expressed support for a ban after the Russian dumping incident on Oct. 17.

      In National Security Council deliberations last week, the Defense Department was said to have pressed for a flexible moratorium, with provisions for any party to withdraw at any time. But after more negotiations, it was said to have given grudging support to the ban.

      “This is a pretty significant departure from the past,” the Administration official said.

      The decision is a victory for Carol M. Browner, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who argued that support of a ban would not only be an important step toward protection of the oceans, but an opportunity for the United States to assert its commitment to environmental protection beyond its own borders.

      She is also described in several articles as an environmental protege of Vice President Gore, a man who has often opposed nuclear energy development.

      The Clinton Administration reduced funding for nuclear energy R&D to zero for at least one fiscal year. It killed the Integral Fast Reactor project just a couple of years before it was going to be complete and demonstrate the possibility of completely recycling used fuel.

      The EPA began its campaign to scare people about the “danger” of radon in 1993, when Ms. Browner was head of the EPA. Here is a quote from an April 7, 1993 article in the New York Times titled U.S. Urges Radon Curbs in New Houses:

      The E.P.A. also published a new information pamphlet warning people of radon’s potential to cause lung cancer and urging buyers to require sellers to test houses for radon, just as they are for termite damage, before a sale can be completed.

      The agency said today that it regarded radon as being among the most serious environmental threats to public health, accounting for 7,000 to 30,000 cases of lung cancer each year in the United States. But that view has been disputed by a growing number of scientists, some of whom said today that the money the agency expected the public to pay for reducing radon in houses was out of proportion to the risk posed by the gas.

      Testing for radon in a house costs $15 to $50, and taking steps to remove radon in existing homes by venting the gas outside the houses can cost up to $3,000, building contractors said today. Installing measures to prevent radon in new homes can cost $500 to $1,000, builders said.

      Taken together, the actions represent a new and politically risky step by the E.P.A. to expand its authority to protect people from a potential environmental hazard in their homes.

      An agency spokesman said Carol M. Browner, the E.P.A. Administrator, was briefed about the agency’s action today and raised no objections. Ms. Browner was unavailable for comment today because of an illness.

      But scientists inside and outside the Government question the risk from radon in houses. Dr. Jan A. Stolwijk, a professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale University, said that the low levels of radon that people are normally exposed to in their homes do not pose an exceptional risk of lung cancer, particularly for people who do not smoke. And for those who smoke, he said, exposure to low levels of radon is a minor factor in their already high chances of developing lung cancer resulting from smoking.

      “If I’m worrying about lung cancer, I have a much better way of clearly lowering my risk than spending a lot of money preventing radon from entering homes,” said Dr. Stolwijk in an interview today. “And that is to stop smoking. If the E.P.A. wants to wipe out lung cancer, they would be much more effective if they banned cigarettes.”

      Since the primary effect of scaring people about radon is to make them afraid of any radioactive material, I think that qualifies as an antinuclear action.

      Note: These comments are about a 20-year old position and do not reflect Ms. Browner’s current stance on the importance of nuclear energy as a low pollution power source. They should, however, provide support for her claim of having been opposed to nuclear energy in the past.

      1. Rod, thats a long winded way of saying that: “No, I cannot find any statements by Browner that qualify her as being “anti-nuclear” in the past”.

        In fact, you have painted a picture, in your comment, of a political figure who got along to get along, avoiding any kind of solid public statements supporting anti-nuclear policies.

        So, it boils down to “because we said so” in the attempt to paint Browner as a past anti-nuclear politico that has been converted into the fold.

        1. I disagree, poa. Ms. Browner was EPA Administrator. When you are top brass, implicit approval of subordinate action is explicit approval. Yes, the buck passes upward through Vice President Gore and stops with President Clinton. But the buck had Ms. Browner’s signature.

          1. “The Administrator of the EPA is not merely an administrator. If you disagree, please take a look at the way that Gina McCarthy or Lisa Jackson have operated in that role.”

            No….Why look to other’s when we are talking about Browner? You cannot find one single anti-nuclear comment from Browner, yet you dig in your heels. She was an administrator. The job of an administrator is to administrate policy…NOT to orchestrate policy or design policy. If she was the anti-nuke you claim she was, she would have jumped at the opportunity to give voice to her opposition. Instead, she reserved comment. I think this anti thing, as it applies to Browner, is BS.

            Wheres the meat? Its a PR stunt. A marketing ploy.

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