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Dirty Energy & FuelPolicies & Politics

McCain's Nuclear Razzle-Dazzle Fizzles with Inconsistencies

Yucca Mountain, “Yes”; transport waste through my state?, “No”; what Grand Canyon?

It’s hard to tell if Senator McCain’s age is catching up with his memory, or if he’s just trying to ride a lot of fences when it comes to nuclear power.

The Sierra Club sent out a release today, pointing out the Senator’s love affair with nuclear power, revealed a YouTube clip of McCain saying he would not approve of shipping 77,000 tons of dangerous nuclear waste through his home state of Arizona, but felt it would be ok to move it through 44 other states.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/GPlaHQCKc34&hl=en&fs=1]

With this in mind, let’s examine his stand on drilling for uranium in the national parks surrounding the Grand Canyon.

What stand?

He’s literally turned his back on the Grand Canyon issue while calling for the building of up to 100 new nuclear power plants at a cost that could equal, or exceed $1 TRILLION.  That’s with a “T”.

Should nuclear plant proliferation succeed in the country, and McCain is elected to the office of President, you can bet your sweet bippie they’ll be drilling for, and mining uranium at the Grand Canyon’s back, or front, door.

I don’t get it.

Of course, he’ll surge ahead with the Yucca Mountain project, the multi-billion-dollar boondoggle in Nevada, designed to store the nation’s most dangerous uranium waste.  He’s supported the Yucca Mountain project from the beginning.

Fermi Plant Site of Environmental Speech

Remember the term “China Syndrome”?  It was coined after a 1966 nuclear reactor at the Enrico Fermi Atomic Power Plant, Unit 1, began to meltdown.  Thankfully the system was shut down before there was any radioactive leakage, and the plant was shut down in 1975.  Interestingly, just this past May, a fire occurred at Unit 1, when residual liquid sodium, left over from the transfer to the new reactor,  made contact with air.   According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), they found no evidence of external radiation leakage as a result of the blaze.

Fermi Unit 1 may be dismantled in four years, according to an NRC spokesman, pending further evaluation, whatever that means.

So, in the midst of all this, McCain is touring Fermi 2, the current power generating station, and touts his “environmental” program, which includes nuclear power plant proliferation.  You might want to take note that Fermi 2 has it’s own problems.  A leak in 2005 shut the plant down for several days, but once again, there was no apparent radioactive leak into the environment.

So, let’s review:  McCain,

  • Wants 100 new nuclear power stations in the U.S.
  • Approves of the Yucca Mountain project.
  • Does not want nuclear waste being transported to Yucca Mountain, going through Arizona.
  • Has turned his back on the Grand Canyon
  • Refuses to support extending key clean energy incentives that may expire Dec 31

What about Obama?

In the beginning, the senator opposed any expansion of nuclear power facilities in the country.  Now, in his latest release, he says:

Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy. Nuclear power represents more than 70 percent of our noncarbon
generated electricity. It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we
eliminate nuclear power as an option. However, before an expansion of nuclear power is
considered, key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste
storage, and proliferation.”

He also proposes tightened security and better accounting for spent nuclear fuel, to prevent nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands.

His call for development and deployment of “Clean Coal Technology” is distressing.  There is no clean coal.  I grew up with coal dust and soot in my lungs, and I suspect we’re as far away from developing carbon capture and storage technologies that work, as we are to building 100 nuclear power reactors.

It’s the Silly Season

There’s no doubt, the candidates are jockeying for the positions that will appeal to the largest number of voters.  The attack ads from both camps are amusing, if not downright silly.  It’s too bad that so many people will believe them, while the issues sometimes seem secondary.  That’s politics, pure and simple.

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