Friday, March 18, 2011

Obama's Energy Policy Faces Pressure

Japan's nuclear disaster is putting new pressure on President Barack Obama's energy strategy, which has relied on calls to expand nuclear power to win support for a broader effort to promote alternatives to coal and oil. Per Peterson, chairman of the nuclear-engineering department at the University of California, Berkeley, said the events that have caused the accident now challenging one of Japan's nuclear plants are unlikely to befall the U.S. for several reasons. While the U.S. does have some nuclear plants in earthquake zones—as in the case of California—they are near "slip-strike" fault lines that lack the potential to cause very large tsunamis as the Japanese "thrust fault" has, he said. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Dr. Peterson said, the government required nuclear-plant owners to ensure that their facilities could accommodate portable diesel pumps to provide electricity to the facilities. More>