Boehner: The United States Should Be More Like France — When It Comes To Nuclear Energy


Reacting to the nuclear meltdown crisis playing out in Japan, House Speaker John Boehner told an audience at a job creation forum Wednesday that the United States should and will learn lessons from the tragedy. But in the meantime, the country should aim to increase its reliance on nuclear energy — much like France.

“I don’t think there’s any question that there are a lot of lessons to be learned by what’s happening in Japan, and there’s no question we will learn from that,” Boehner said.

But there are nuclear reactors operating all over the world. Eighty-two percent of the electricity produced in France comes from nuclear sources, and has done so successfully for decades. Only 20 percent of the electricity in the United States comes from nuclear sources.

So I think let’s learn the lessons, let’s understand what safeguards if any additional safeguards need to be put in place. But let’s not just say like we have for the last 30 years, we’re not even going to look at it because we’re afraid of it.

There’s an obvious punchline anytime a Republican says the United States should aspire to be more like France. But in this case there’s a dual irony. France is host to the world’s largest nuclear energy company, the vast majority of which is owned by the state. So, you know, actual socialism.


Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at