1994 Scorecard Vote
Despite massive government subsidies, the U.S. nuclear power industry has failed to solve its serious economic, safety, and waste disposal problems and, as a result, no successful order for a new commercial nuclear reactor has been placed in over 15 years.
Federal subsidies for nuclear power continue, however. Over the last few years, for example, the Department of Energy has spent millions on a program to develop an Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor (ALMR), using breeder reactor technology.
Many environmentalists note that, like many past nuclear power projects, the ALMR is economically unjustifiable and suffers from serious safety flaws. They say the ALMR will generate more high-level radioactive waste than it will consume and could increase the supply of plutonium. The critics' views are supported by a 1991 Department of Energy report, which ranked 23 energy technologies on the basis of economic and energy potential, environmental impact, and technical risk: the ALMR received the third worst ranking.
When the Fiscal Year 1995 Energy and Water Appropriations bill (H.R. 4506) came to the Senate floor, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) offered an amendment to terminate the ALMR. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) offered a motion to table (kill) the Kerry amendment and keep the ALMR program alive.
On June 30, 1994, the Senate accepted the Johnston tabling motion by a vote of 52 - 46. NO is the pro-environment vote.
In a significant victory for the environment, the ALMR was eventually terminated after the House voted against funding the project (see House vote 18).