Rep Edward Markey
, D-Mass., says Japan’s earthquake and tsunami might make Wall Street less likely to invest in future nuclear power plants, making the energy source a decreasing option in solving U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
“It’s not protesters that have hurt nuclear power over the last 30 years, its investors,” Markey Monday said on MSNBC. “After Three Mile Island, after Chernobyl – investors, Wall Street, just walked away from nuclear power. So just as some confidence had begun to be built in the industry, we now have the worst accident in the history of the world, with the exception of Chernobyl.
“So I think what we’re about to see is a dramatic rise in the risk premium for Wall Street to invest in nuclear power plants,” said Markey, a senior member of the House Energy Committee. “They’ve already said all along that they won’t build any nuclear power plants, unless the taxpayers guarantee it, which is the condition which the nuclear industry and Wall Street have extracted from the last couple of Congresses. But this makes it even more dangerous out in the marketplace.
“So I think that it was never going to be a large part of the electricity mix in our country going forward – I think this is going to harm it even more,” he said.
Markey was asked whether U.S. nuclear reactors have been built beyond earthquake fault lines and are able to withstand seismic instability.
“No, we have not,” Markey replied. “The Diablo Canyon plant in California was built on an earthquake fault – which by the way was not discovered until after the whole plant had been designed and Shell Oil was out drilling for oil and they found the fault.
“The same thing is true down in the southeastern United States – another earthquake prone area. So we have not avoided them,” he said. “Over the years, I think there’s been a little bit of wishful thinking that an earthquake could not occur in the United States.
“But we’re getting a very serious warning from Japan that we should not believe that humanity can trump Mother Nature.”
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