1982 Scorecard Vote
The vote is on the Appropriations Committee Amendment to the fiscal 1983 Continuing Resolution (H.J. Res. 631), to put back money for the Clinch River breeder reactor which had been removed by the House. For years environmentalists have fought against this nuclear breeder reactor, which would produce massive quantities of plutonium, one of the most toxic substances there is. Unlike the byproducts of existing nuclear reactors, plutonium can easily be made into nuclear weapons by terrorists or foreign nations. Commercialization of breeder technology inevitably puts the ingredients of nuclear bombs into every day commerce, blurring the line between nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
Construction of the Clinch River breeder is more absurd today than ever before. When it was first proposed in 1970, the nuclear industry and the utilities agreed to pay more than half its estimated $400 million cost. Now the General Accounting Office says Clinch will cost more than $8.8 billion to build and operate, while private interests will put up less than 3% of this cost. Moreover, breeder reactors were first proposed as a way of providing nuclear power plants with plutonium fuel, to replace the dwindling known supplies of uranium. But recently, huge new uranium discoveries have been made, while the demand for projections for nuclear power plants have gone down almost 90%. The Washington Post editorialized that "as for the Clinch River breeder, now severely obsolete, the only serious case for it is that it would generate construction jobs in a state (Tennessee) represented in the Senate by the Majority Leader (Baker)."
Committee amendment adopted 49-48; December 16, 1982. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (A House-Senate Conference provided some money for engineering and site preparation, but not for construction. We will be trying to kill this project once again in 1983.)