WASHINGTON – As radiation particles from the nuclear hazard in Japan send residents fleeing and make their way across the Pacific Ocean, one U.S. senator introduced a plan to get rid of the agency that regulates nuclear safety.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) unveiled his five-year budget plan Friday, a radical and ambitious proposal that would -- among other things -- eliminate the U.S. Department of Energy, one of the twofederal agencies charged with overseeing America's nuclear capabilities.
The proposal comes as fears remain regarding the possible meltdown of a nuclear reactor in Fukushima, which was crippled by a massive earthquake off the coast of Japan and ensuing tsunami. Hundreds of thousands were evacuated as radiation leaked into the atmosphere. Trace elements of the radioactive fallout made it all the way to the U.S. by Friday.
In response, China, Germany and France ordered safety checks on their existing reactors, even shutting down some nuclear plants temporarily and halting production of new nuclear energy. President Barack Obama also ordered a safety review on U.S. nuclear plants, though he maintained that the U.S. must continue developing nuclear energy.
Paul's proposal to balance the budget by 2016 would also kill the Departments of Education, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development. It would cut military spending by 6 percent while leaving Social Security, Medicare and war funding in tact.
The tea party favorite, first elected to public office last November on a mantra of cutting spending, announced the plan alongside fellow Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (SC) and Mike Lee (UH).