Published on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 by Reuters
Cheney: Nuclear Power Will Solve Global Warming
by Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said on
Wednesday his energy policy team was considering the future of
U.S. nuclear power and that new nuclear plants could help cut
greenhouse gases that cause global warming better than a
''seriously flawed'' Kyoto treaty.
``If you want to do something about carbon dioxide emissions, then you ought to build nuclear power plants. They don't emit any carbon dioxide. They don't emit greenhouse gases,'' Cheney said on MSNBC's ``Hardball'' program.
``A chapter in the report will deal with the nuclear questions and whether or not we want to go forward, but no decisions have been made yet,'' he said.
Cheney drew a contrast between nuclear power and the 1997 Kyoto global warming treaty to limit industrial-nation emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, saying the agreement was ``seriously flawed'' because it did not place restrictions on developing nations such as China and India.
The treaty was signed by the United States under former President Clinton , but not submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
``We do not support the approach of the Kyoto treaty,'' Cheney said.
``If you're really serious about greenhouse gases, one of the solutions to that problem is to go back, and let's take another look at nuclear power, use that to generate electricity without having any adverse consequences,'' Cheney said.
No permits to build U.S. nuclear plants have been granted since 1975, although nuclear power now provided about 20 percent of U.S. electricity, Cheney said.
The 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, a near meltdown of a Pennsylvania power plant that spread low-level radiation over an area near the plant, put a long-term chill on the industry.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush did not include increasing nuclear power in his energy platform during his campaign. But he indicated Bush had not ruled it out in his charge to Cheney's committee.
``His charge to them was to look broadly and to look long term,'' Fleischer said. ``We'll take a look at the recommendations in their totality.''
Bush last week retreated from a campaign promise to require power plants to limit emissions of carbon dioxide. The European Union responded with concern that the act signaled a U.S. retreat from efforts to fight global warming.
Cheney said that Bush made U.S. opposition to the Kyoto treaty clear in his decision last week on carbon dioxide.