Sen Joe Lieberman evidently is unaware of the advances in nuclear safety, saying on CBS' Face The Nation that he believes we need "to put the brakes on [building new plants] right now until we understand the ramifications of what's happened in Japan."
Well then, by this logic, we should stop building cars because the 35 year old models on the road are not as safe as the ones built today.
Here's the reality Senator; the reactors that are in this crisis situation, reactors 1 and 3, were built in 1970 and 1976 respectively* and feature active safety systems that require electricity, either from the grid or emergency generators, to power the pumps that supply water to cool reactors. The new plant designs use passive systems such as convection, pebble beds and Doppler scattering; no external measures are needed because the fuel elements shut off over a certain temperature.
Just for once, can't a politician actually know the facts before they speak.
"I've been a big supporter of nuclear power because it's domestic, it's ours and it's clean," Lieberman said. "We've had a good safety with nuclear power plants here in the United States... I don't want to stop the building of nuclear power plants, but I think we've got to kind of quietly, quickly put the brakes on until we can absorb what has happened in Japan as a result of the earthquake and the tsunami and then see what more, if anything, we can demand of the new power plants that are coming online."
Also read, via Memeorandum: WSJ, "Japan Does not Face Another Chernobyl" and from the NYT, "Radioactive Releases Could Last Months in Japan, Experts say"