tv [untitled] CSPAN June 22, 2009 11:00pm-11:30pm EDT
which we did not get a definitive answer. if a terrorist were to break into an american plant, could he get a hold of something that could be used as a terrorist weapon? it is my understanding that the answer to that question is no. a terrorist could not in any plant get his hands on anything. even if a terrorist got his hands on weapons grade plutonium, which is the ultimate product of the reprocessing, and he would need the resources of the nation state to turn that weapons-grade plutonium into a bomb. is that correct? >> yes, sir. the plutonium that results from the reprocessing in france is not classified as weapons grade. >> ok.
that is the recent we do not reprocessed. jimmy carter set -- the reason we do not reprocess. jimmy carter said that this would be dangerous. . the technology that we developed. >> and would definitely agree that was the public face of it, much in the same way that three mile island was the public face of the demise of the new build it in this country. if you look at the other factors that went into it, you had several attempts to build several attempts to build commer reprocessing facilities at the time. frankly, the nrc changed the rules on them in midstream and told them they had to go back and reconfigure. that added to the cost. simultaneously, the overall economics began to fall out of the bottom as we saw new plants
go by the wayside. it came to a point where it was not given that time, especially with the ridiculously high interest rates, it was not economical to build such a facility. it was a decision by the industry. from a public policy standpoint, president ford did it during the campaign. it was followed up on by president carter. he took it off officially. but president reagan came back three years later and said to have at it. but the economics have changed. >> by then, it was too late. >> it really comes down to price. >> i still blame jimmy carter. [laughter] thank you, senator. >> the other problem that seems to stand away is economics. what are we going to do to make sure that senator alexander's
bill is actually implemented once enacted? how much is it going to cost? what will we have to do to the permitting and regulatory process? are we going to have to enact some litigation shortcuts so that even when the agencies get on board and we have the money available it will not be tied up for decades in court? >> the best way to describe the economics is on a relative basis. there is the notion of a love allies to -- levellized cost of generation. that number is usually in dollars per megawatt power. a giveaway to compare whether this was cheap or expensive as a fuel source.
-- it gives you a way to compare whether this was cheap or expensive as a fuel cores. there are the financing costs that are a function of the interest rate that you get. the hue are not deemed creditworthy, -- if you are not deemed creditworthy, it costs top dollar. by contrast, if you have a long delay even with low interest rates, the overall interest rates will be high because you will not realize revenue they would have without the delay. there is the overall question of what the capital costs are themselves. there are a lot of unknowns. if you do not have recent data. on what it costs to build a plant in this country with the labour force today, you do not know. there is a lot of speculation. there is a lot of estimating that has been going on. what is clear is that in the middle of a recession when the costs of everything have fallen, those numbers are going down as
inopportune as it may look on the dollar to capital dollar basis, by contrast, nuclear power might beat $5,000 per kilowatt. -- might be $5,000 per kilowatt. your cost could be cheaper, especially if the fuel costs go up more for the other sources. >> we have got to compare the theoretical and the real world. senator alexander pointed out some in his speech at oak ridge that the attorney general of connecticut was complaining at one point that the nuclear power guys were making so much profit that they ought to put an extra
windfall tax on them. i am looking at finland. finland is complaining. i am reading the words of the finnish government. the lower price and the fact that the nuclear plants do not have to fool with the carbon trading costs, they do not have the uncertainties that other people have, all of this means they are making unfair and unearned income. it has become so profitable. the french presumably share that situation. it is becoming so profitable that they ought to turn it back to the government. sweden is doing a similar thing. norway is doing it. in belgium, the government is no carrierringconnect 1200 250 n
>> it is not exactly a fair comparison. france was facing the same decisions we were. they decided they did not want to be dependent upon foreign sources of energy anymore than we did. we have abundant supplies of coal and natural gas. they went the nuclear route. we have a complete government owned and regulated utility, it is easy to make those long-term decisions and stick with them. as mr. book talked about earlier, we allow the consumers to make the choice did we binge and purge and go from cheaper to
more expensive. it is a very good. that the per kilowatt hour amortized is as cheap as anything. it brings about. that does not get talked about. one of the greatest policies we can look into is whether or not we can extend the life of the plants we have now. people talk about the efficiency being below hanging for its. those existing reactors are cash cows. the costs have been immortalized out. the costs are significantly cheaper than other fuel sources. the overall overhead for production is relatively cheap. it is obviously producing the zero commissions. -- is obviously producing zero emissions.
they probably use more help from the appropriators appear. if there is a way to offer an additional life extension to 80 years so we do not have to take the plants offline 10 or 15 years from now -- that will be a big hole to dig ourselves out of. to me, that is the lowest hanging fruit of all. the upfront costs for nuclear power unquestionably are probably the most expensive of any power source. it is important to take that into account. these firms are private entities unlike the european countries we're talking about. they have to come up with a way to finance the plant of the magnitude of $10 billion. most of these utilities run an average of $30 billion. that is a big chunk of their overall worth. it would be negligent of any board to go all in with one technology and suck up your entire balance sheet over night.
that is why i argued that loan guarantees are crucial. some of you have pointed out that it really comes down to cost of capital. that is what he equates the overall magic for the utility. if you are having to pay 30% more to borrow money because you do not have a loan guarantee, you're probably not going to make the decision to build. it is plain and simple. the merchant utilities have pretty much said that trade unless they get a loan guarantee, they are not building. you will see some reactors because some states allow them to build it into the base. at that point, they are guaranteed a return. they do not have to worry about being able to pass it on to the consumer because it is guaranteed through a regulatory body. if we want to see an expansion to the tune of 100 new reactors, we will have to ensure that it applies to more than just a
handful of and finance it through their states. we have to be able to ensure that the merchant facilities or utilities also have the capacity through loan guarantees. that is the single greatest policy going right now. it is important that we see the cap expanded and some of the other bells and whistles evened out. >> thank you all very much. we have reached the witching hour. let me ask you two quick questions that can be answered yes or no. the first is whether the cap and trade regime is a good idea. mr. lieberman? ? mr. rockwell? >> i would save from an energy
security perspective, probably not true >> the market's only work if you let them behave like real markets. >> all right. going to the point that mr. guith made. let's assume that the government does produce cap and trade and it produces a significant amount of income to the government, would it make sense to have that income dedicated to the building of nuclear plants? >> [inaudible] >> you cannot get past the note for capt. trade. -- you cannot get past the no for cap and trade. >> i would say that there are a myriad of places for it to go. we need to allow the markets to operate. we need to allow utilities to make the choice themselves. >> i think the money belongs in
the technology agnostic loan guarantee program to secure clean energy. i think nuclear might rise to the top of the list right now and that it should win on its own merits. >> if you put it in a loan guarantee program and everyone makes the right decision on what to do with the money they get, it does not go to anybody. it might even be used to reduce the national debt. that is not a bad idea. >> a lot of people do not know this 50% of the electricity being produced right now by nuclear power plants is coming from uranium that was taken from russian warheads. 50%. 14,000 russian warheads, i have been told. it is actually coming from dismantled russian warheads
there were aimed at u.s. cities. they are now producing 50% of the nuclear power. that is pretty wonderful. >> i keep telling my constituents that. they get upset about another issue that i will not go into. thank you all. it -- i thank you for your input and your expertise. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> next on c-span, obama signs a
bill expanding federal regulation of tobacco products. after that, john mccain talks about iran. we will also have an update from the state department and hear from the son of the former leader of iran. >> the weekend of july 4 on book tv, discovered an unfamiliar side of the first president, with john ferling on the ascent of george washington. join us on "book tv." >> obama signs a bill expanding the authority of the food and drug administration. from the rose garden, this is
people from the campaign -- [applause] we have the commissioner, hamburg, tom frieden, the cdc director,r and just some extraordinary members of congress here that are on stage, sen. todd, lautenberg, rep. waxman, dingle, platts, who did extraordinary work in getting this to move forward. i want to thank all of them but there are three i have to thank,
waxman, sen. dodd, [laughter] >> and most importantly, sen. ted kennedy, who cannot be here today. this legislation represents change decades in the making. since the middle of last century we have known about the deadly effects of tobacco products. 400,000 die every year, making this the legal will cause of preventable death in the united states. nearly 8 million merit --
million americans suffer from something caused by smoking, and this costs us over $100 billion a year. even worse is the effect on our children. one out of every five children are current smokers by the time they leave high school. every day over 1000 children become smokers, much of this began before the 18th birthday. i was one of those teenagers and i know how difficult this habit can be to break. and i know that children do not begin for no reason. they are targeted by the tobacco industry, and are exposed. raj of advertising where they live and learn and play.
the offer products that mask the taste of tobacco. we have known about this for decades, but despite the efforts of so many advocates, tobacco industry has generally won the day on the hill. when henry waxman first brought the ceos before congress in 1994, they deny that tobacco was deadly or that nicotine was addictive or that this was marketed to children. they spent millions to fight back, every attempt to expose this as a lie. 15 years later this has finally failed. because of the work of democrats and republicans and consumer advocates, the effort to protect our children from the harmful effect of tobacco is victorious.
this legislation will not ban all of the tobacco products, it will allow adults to make their own choices. but it will ban tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds, and will limit the ability to market the products towards children. these companies will have to publicly technology the harmful and deadly effect of the products that they sell, and will allow for the scientists to take common-sense steps to reduce the effect of smoking. this is a victory of bipartisanship, that was passed in both houses of congress. this is a victory for health care reform because it will help me back the money that we spend, this will reduce the number of american children who picked up a cigarette and this will save american lives and it
will make americans healthy. even with the passage of this legislation, the work to improve public health is not complete. tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death, in america and the world. 1 billion people will die from these illnesses the century if the trend continues. the united states will continue to work to fight this epidemic on a global basis. but no matter how far this light may be, what has happened today is giving us hope. i believed that despite the power of the status quo, it was possible to bring change to washington, and the change of the last five months has only reaffirms my faith. despite the interference of the credit-card industry, we passed
a law to protect consumers. we passed a law to protect homeowners from mortgage fraud. we passed a law to protect the taxpayers from waste and abuse in the defense contractors. and we have passed a law to prevent it -- to protect the next group of americans from growing up with this deadly substance. henry waxman began by quoting a prophet, " a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a singe ste p." we are taking an important step that will save lives and dollars.
>> today, an iranian panel monitoring the presidential election said that the date -- a number of votes cast was more than the number of voters. next on c-span, we will hear john mccain on the protests in iran. then we will get a reaction from the state department, and after that, the son of the former shah of iran at the national press club. >> how is c-span funded? >> through donations? >> you have some from the federal government? >> there will be sponsors? >> government funding? >> viewers? >>
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