January 12, 2011
You didn’t used to hear the nuclear industry held up as a model for safety practices but it’s becoming more common all the time.
Writing in the Tampa Tribune yesterday, former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham told readers that the industry’s safety regime at the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) should serve as a model for efforts to improve safety in offshore oil drilling. Graham now serves as co-chairman of President Obama’s Commission on the BP and Offshore Drilling.
“Our commission is urging the offshore oil and gas industry to follow in the path of other high-risk industries such as nuclear power and chemical, which have established industry organizations to assure the highest standards of safety and complement effective governmental regulation,” Graham told readers. “Each of these organizations was established in the wake of a disaster Three Mile Island and Bhopal. It is an open question as to whether the offshore industry leaders will see as a similar mandate and opportunity to act.”
Graham, a Democrat, did not make a case for expanding nuclear power but did argue that we should replace oil in some unspecified way: "Unless we develop and sustain a national energy policy which will fundamentally change our petroleum addiction, the only choice our generation will have is whether to leave to our children or to our grandchildren an America totally dependent on foreign oil producers for its national security, economy and way of life,” he concluded. It’s not clear exactly how this can be accomplished, but unless we are to revert to burning even more coal, nuclear is obviously going to be part of the answer.