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The Obama administration is maintaining its support for nuclear power even after three explosions at crippled nuclear power plants in Japan.  Senator Charles Schumer is also standing by nuclear power.  However, Senator Joe Lieberman has called for a 'time out' and Congressman Ed Markey is calling for a moratorium on building new plants. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is planning legislation aimed at streamlining the approval process for new plants.  The Japanese incidents come as a number of power companies have begun applying for Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses to build what would be the first new U.S. reactors in decades. The White House has supported the efforts.

Last year the administration approved $8.3 billion worth of Energy Department loan guarantees for utility giant Southern Co. to add two new reactors to its Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia — a decision Obama announced personally. But the project would still need an NRC construction and operating license to move ahead.  The White House fiscal 2012 budget plan would give the Energy Department another $36 billion in loan guarantee authority for supporting new reactors, in addition to the roughly $10 billion worth the department has remaining.

And Obama used January’s State of the Union speech to float a “clean energy standard” that would require power companies to collectively supply 80 percent of U.S. electricity from various low-carbon sources — including nuclear power — by 2035.
 
The Center agrees with the position of the Obama administration.

Norris McDonald at control room
Norris McDonald touring plant
The San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Clemente, California is receiving scrutiny because it sits right on the coast like the Fukushima plant. There are worries that it is vulnerable to a tsunami.  Center President Norris McDoanald toured San Onofre on June 6, 2005. San Onofre is about an hour's drive south of Los Angeles and can be seen from Highway 5.  It is about a 30 minute drive from San Diego.  (The Hill, 3/14/2011)

San Onofre nuclear power plant