1979 Scorecard Vote
HR 3000. Energy Department Civilian Programs. The vote is on the Fuqua amendment to terminate the Clinch River fast breeder reactor and to authorize $107 million to carry out a Department of Energy study and design for an alternative breeder. This represents a compromise by the Carter Administration, which for three years previously had attempted to halt construction at Clinch River without making any serious commitment to build other breeder technologies. This year the amendment provided money for continuing work on various breeder components and directed DOE to report back to congress by March 1981 with a conceptual breeder design and a recommendation on whether to build it. Liquid metal fast breeder reactors are believed to produce more nuclear fuel than they consume. But they are more expensive and more dangerous than the light water reactors now in use. Breeders require the production and shipping of large amounts of plutonium, one of the most carcinogenic and poisonous substances known. Terrorists or other nations would need only a small amount of plutonium to make nuclear bombs. The core of the breeder also generates tremendous heat and thus requires a coolant which can withstand extremely high temperatures. The usual coolant, liquid sodium, is potentially very dangerous; it can explode and burn on contact with either air or water. Amendment rejected 182-237. July 26, 1979. Yes is the correct vote.