By Dr. Jeffery Patterson

One crucial lesson from the BP oil spill is that measures to speed licensing, cut corners on safety and undermine regulation can lead to tragic consequences. Yet Congress appears on the verge of repeating mistakes that led to the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf.

Federal lawmakers are weighing a BP-type deregulation of new nuclear reactors - the one energy source in which damage from a major accident could dwarf harm done by a ruptured offshore oil well.

In this effort, the nuclear industry's backers are working both sides of the street. On one hand, they proclaim that the current nuclear regulatory system is so superior, it could well serve as a model for regulating the petrochemical industry.

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