----- Original Message -----
From: Michael C. Baker
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2000 5:13 PM
Subject: Domenici press release
News Release Senator Pete V. Domenici
NOVEMBER 15, 2000
DOMENICI CALLS FOR NATIONAL DIALOGUE
ON RISKS AND BENEFITS OF NUCLEAR POWER & TECHNOLOGIES
New Mexico Senator Accepts Henry DeWolf Smyth Statesman Award
WASHINGTON -- In accepting the prestigious Henry DeWolf Smyth Statesman Award for his work in Congress on nuclear issues, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico today renewed his call for a balanced national discussion on the risks and benefits posed by nuclear technologies for the future of the United States and global security.
The award was presented Wednesday evening during the 2000 International Meeting of the American Nuclear Society/European Nuclear Society in cooperation with the Nuclear Energy Institute. Domenici is the 24th recipient of the award, which is bestowed to a single individual each year to recognize "outstanding statesmanlike contributions to the many aspects of nuclear energy activities." In acceptance remarks, Domenici cited achievements since his October 1997 speech to the inaugural symposium of Harvard University's new Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, in which he called for a national dialogue on nuclear issues, and aired concerns about the United States' nuclear policies in relation to domestic energy requirements, and national and global security.
"We've made progress since the Harvard speech, but we remain a long way from realizing the full benefits of harnessing the nucleus. If Dr. Smyth were with us today, he would appreciate the efforts that all of you have made to realize his visions for using nuclear energy to improve our lives. But he also would encourage all of us to continue our efforts," Domenici said.
"So much more attention will be required if we are to have a well-rounded, long-term American policy that incorporates nuclear technologies. Related to this is our participation in credible non-proliferation programs with the nations of the former Soviet Union," he said.
Domenici said Congress, without much administration support, has made progress over the past three years to support nuclear technologies in the United States increasing funding for the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative to foster serious study of nuclear topics. Congress also supported a Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization program to explore approaches to extend the lifetimes of existing plants. In addition, Congress created the Nuclear Energy Technology Program, a $7.5 million effort to seriously explore specific areas of technology that can impact the market for new plants. Most of these funds are dedicated to the study of Generation IV reactors reactors that would: be cost competitive with other energy sources; have no possibility of core meltdown; minimize proliferation concerns; and, reduce production of high level waste.
"Building on this Generation IV program, I'm very optimistic that in the next few years we can start construction of a new reactor, to serve as a demonstration test bed for new technologies. Not too many years ago, the thought of new reactor construction in the United States would have been a pipe dream. It isn't today," Domenici said.
"Two words must be part of every discussion on energy alternatives: risks and benefits. No energy source is free of both. We need to seize opportunities to note that energy production, by any technology, represents a trade-off between risks and benefits. The public must have the information to fairly judge both sides of this equation for each type of energy source. With that kind of comparison, nuclear energy fares very well," he said. "Anti-nuclear groups have focused only on the risks involved with nuclear. They don't discuss its benefits."