The forcing function for holding the debate on that date was the fact that the Senate has included an additional authorization for $50 billion in loan guarantees for clean energy as part of the stimulus package. Though all forms of low emission energy can qualify, the fear among the virulent anti-nukes like Harvey Wasserman and the O’Connor family sponsored Texans for a Sound Energy Policy Alliance is that the vast majority of the loan guarantee authority will be captured by the nuclear power industry.
That is a reasonable evaluation of the current situation. After all, utility companies interested in building new nuclear power plants already have $122 Billion in shovel ready projects waiting in line for loan guarantees. The project applications were turned in several months ago and are being ranked and evaluated by the Department of Energy.
During the debate, Wasserman focused on telling lies about nuclear power plant insurance, about the risk of living and working near a plant, and about the expense associated with recycling used nuclear fuel. He also attempted to attract some strange bedfellows from conservative groups like Cato by focusing on what he called the market failure of nuclear power.
Moore admitted that he had been totally wrong in his youth by not recognizing the difference between nuclear weapons and beneficial uses of nuclear technology. He talked about the benefits of clean, reliable nuclear power that can reduce the need to burn coal, about the myth that we do not know what to do with the waste, and also wondered why Wasserman, a man with no history of love for the free market, is so certain that government should not be involved in electricity supply enterprises.
Of course, you can view the full debate uninterrupted at the Democracy Now! web site: Should the Economic Stimulus Bill Include Billions in Loan Guarantees? but I think this interrupted version adds some entertainment and informational value. I hope you agree and come to the site to share your thoughts.
In addition, please do make the effort to contact your senator and congressman to let them know how you feel about loan guarantees. (If you do not like them, that’s okay. I would be interested in hearing why or why not.)
One more thing – Harvey Wasserman is still an idiot.