Thursday, January 03, 2008

Barack Obama on Nuclear Energy

"I don't think that we can take nuclear power off the table..."

Here's a clip of Senator Barack Obama at a recent debate in Hanover, NH:


Click here for archived NEI Notes posts about Senator Obama.

16 comments:

Rod Adams said...

I recall a conversation about Barack Obama with a good friend at the ANS summer meeting. That friend happened to be from the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago. He is somewhat active in Illinois politics.

He told me that Obama is supportive of nuclear technologies, but that he has toned down that support while working on getting the nomination from the Democratic Party. It seems that he has continued to reduce the volume on his support knob to the point where it is reaching the fiducial level.

It is a strategy that does not please me at all, but it seemed to work for him in Iowa. I just hope that people who lean towards the liberal side and who vote as Democrats will work to make it possible for candidates on that side of the aisle to speak more openly and more supportively about the importance of nuclear power.

I think it is absurd to allow anyone to assert that wind and solar are going to make any impact at all. Their potential production is trivial no matter how must subsidy they get. We need to say that over and over again. At least with nuclear subsidies - which make me a bit uncomfortable - America gets a return on its investment.

Anonymous said...

I feel the Democrat's anti-energy and anti-development agenda is out of step with the majority opinion in 2007. Most people for example would be thrilled to have a nuclear power plant open in their county, bringing many high paying jobs and stable power.

Now there are other areas where the Democrats are popular like raising the minimum wage.. but I feel their resistance to things like new nuclear power plants is really costing them support.

max said...

GUYS
STOP BEING SUCH YUPPY IDIOTS.
AMERICAN NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY IS FAR BEHIND JAPAN, FRANCE AND THE REST OF THE WORLD. We need to use breeder reactors, they produce about 5% the ammount of waste as a normal plant, thought the downside is that that 5% is purified, and can easily be put into a bomb. So tighter security, and more funding is what the industry needs.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the case, Nuclear Energy is a vital source of the "mix" that we need. Those against nuclear energy aren't seeing the costs, the viabilities, and efficiency of today's power plants and technology.

Sure there is waste, but that shouldn't prevent us from falling behind. If Obama support nuclear energy then I will vote for him, because as of now, the other "alternative" sources can't help us as much as nuclear (though diversifying the sources is good, just saying nuclear energy should be on the top of the list)

Jesse said...

PLEASE OBAMA BE PRO-NUCLEAR!!!

Anonymous said...

Here is the bottom line in my opinion.

A) Nuclear power is not safe from natural disasters or large airborne objects and could easily pollute the atmosphere if damaged.

B) There is absolutely no safe way to dispose of nuclear waste or even recycle it thus far. It has a 50 year half-life. And who wants it in their backyard polluting the environment? Nobody.

C) Making nuclear bombs with it is stupid. You detonate a nuclear bomb somewhere else in the world and the fallout will travel for hundreds if not thousands of miles and pollute and kill everything in it's path, potentially you.

D) As far as Obama is concerned and listening to what he has to say regarding nuclear and coal power; he is leaving himself an open door to change his mind later on by what he said in this speech. Only using nuclear and coal as last resorts in his words and only when the utilities tell him it's safe leaves the door wide open for him to ok the technology as he sees fit.

McCain is much more of a straight talker, but I don't agree with him on issues.

I am a democrat. I don't trust Obama because he is wishy washy from debate to debate. "No, what I said was........." seems to be his favorite line in debates whenever confronted on something he said at an earlier time.

I voted for Clinton. She's already been President, LOL. I trust her to try (depending on congress and senate) and do what she says.

These are just my opinions. No offense toward anyone with differing viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

In my estimation both parties are about equally to blame for the United States lack of a coherent energy policy.

Is nuclear energy completely safe? Certainly not but how many people have been killed by it in the US or even France compared to coal or electricity? Since the rich don't die in coal mining accidents, the elites and yuppies don't care about the direct deaths from those energy sources. The benefits of nuclear power -- given the currently available alternative solutions -- is well worth the very minimal risks since it's not like the energy sources that we are relying upon the most right now are truly safe. The goal of the US should be to catch up to and then surpass countries like France in the efficient use of nuclear power until something better comes along.

Liberals usually consider themselves supporters of science. I'm a moderate but I love science too and nuclear power is obviously a major scientific breakthrough and revolution of the 20th century. While it is a different form, we would ALL be dead fairly quickly without nuclear energy from the sun.

I won't let the selfish conservatives off the hook either. They are willing to send young soldiers off to war in large part directly or indirectly fighting for oil but are unwilling to support a major increase in the gas tax. Whether its a $1-$3 increase in gas tax or truly enforcing dramatically higher fuel efficiency standards, the US has to dramatically curb it's use of oil. (Taxes in another area should be cut but folks would finally drive a lot less or buy more efficient cars if it was $5-6 per gallon) Nearly all of the 911 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and the US shouldn't have an energy policy that just indirectly makes them richer and richer. They then uses some of this money to build mosques in the US when churches can't be built in Saudi Arabia! Saudi Arabia is a country that obviously represses women and religious minorities. If Saudi Arabia revenue from oil was decimated from a very strong energy policy in the US and in China as well....they may have to begin to modernize and become a less repressive society.

Human caused "global warming" may end up being incorrect. But, the US shouldn't need the threat of global warming to realize that we do have to dramatically become more efficient with the use of energy and create massive amounts of new energy that doesn't cause major amounts of pollution.

As for nuclear waste... that is overblown. If you have new plants, the amount of waste doesn't add up to much area. This is more about NIMBYism then anything else. Give the residents who live closest to the nuclear storage site a massive tax break and all of a suddent communities might be fighting to store the nuclear waste. As long as the nuclear waste doesn't take up that much room and it is protected from terrorists, I don't care if the byproducts lasts another million years!

The common sense policies I'm espousing are what some forward looking countries in Europe currently do. And they are also something that I think someone like FDR would do today.

Anonymous said...

Wow, am I ever late in posting a comment here, but I found this post when looking for Obama's nuclear stance.

To the anonymous commentator that wrote "Here is the bottom line in my opinion," I must strongly disagree with most points made.

For lack of the time to explain this in any detail that would keep interest, I must insist that you read more on the points made because I do not believe you fully understand the facts and widespread debate behind your statements.

I would speak differently if you didn't sound like you are regurgitating information that was obviously fed to you by those with anti-nuclear agendas. I mean no offense by sounding condescending, which I must, but those that provide this information use pseudo-science and fear tactics to gain supporters for their agendas, and will find a reason not to do anything if it has the word nuclear in it. There is a legitimate hope in nuclear solutions that should not be ignored. Apprehension is natural and positive, but outright denial no matter the advances gains us nothing.

Nuclear is not the perfect solution, but your facts remain misinformed. Please do some more research into the counterpoints to your points. You may already have heard them, and if you have still accepted this perspective as truth that's respectable (if regrettable), but it sounds like you are just preaching what you have been told as to the counterpoints of nuclear solutions.

Anonymous said...

[quote]
A) Nuclear power is not safe from natural disasters or large airborne objects and could easily pollute the atmosphere if damaged.

B) There is absolutely no safe way to dispose of nuclear waste or even recycle it thus far. It has a 50 year half-life. And who wants it in their backyard polluting the environment? Nobody.

C) Making nuclear bombs with it is stupid. You detonate a nuclear bomb somewhere else in the world and the fallout will travel for hundreds if not thousands of miles and pollute and kill everything in it's path, potentially you.

D) As far as Obama is concerned and listening to what he has to say regarding nuclear and coal power; he is leaving himself an open door to change his mind later on by what he said in this speech. Only using nuclear and coal as last resorts in his words and only when the utilities tell him it's safe leaves the door wide open for him to ok the technology as he sees fit.
[quote]

is this guy retarded?

A: It would take something on the scale of several bunker busters to damage a containment dome. And whens the last time a large airborne object or natural disater destroyed a reactor anyway?

B: There IS a safe way to recycle nuclear power. most nuclear waste can be reprocessed and used as fuel. Plus, theres this nuclear waste site in Nevada that could hold all the worlds nuclear waste far more securely than anything in use today. Bu considering how there has not been a single release of dangerous materials at any nuclear waste site in the US ever, I would certainyl have no qualms about living next door to one.

C: This thread is about nuclear POWER, not nuclear BOMBS. Big differnce there buddy. Try staying on topic. Plus, a lot of nuclear warheads are being decomissioned and they provide the nuclear power plants with plenty of high quality fuel.

Anonymous said...

We need Nuclear Power and if you understand the whole concept it is not bad , We have someone here in our town who is a scientist at Lawerance Livermore Labatory, He can tell you anything you want to know , The rods can be used over and over and there is so little waste that 100,000 homes over 20 yrs the stuff everyone is worried about fits in a shoe box , Most of the rest of the world is useing it and it is much better than coal and can help everyone with Gas , and with power , If you can listen to him he is usually on every sat and sunday night Bill Wattnburg on the Radio , in California ,On KGO Radio 810 on the dial am , from 10 pm till 1 am Pacific time , If you can not get it on the radio you can hear him on the internet , and also speak to him , He is slightly gruff , But he is a very smart guy , Tune in and listen and you can ask him to explain , He also has a website right there on the page you can read about all of it , It is only the greenies , who are against everything , They either do not understand it or just don't want what our country needs , I hope Barack will really look into this , it is very important to understand how much this can do , and little danger when it is explained

Anonymous said...

I believe the reason obama hasn't said he supports, or won't support nuclear power is simply because, a large voting block for him, is in the far far left greens who will not vote for him if he says a solid yes to nuclear. So I could easilly see him, a few months after election giving the go ahead on nuclear power.

That said, I see nothing wrong with using nuclear power again, the only reason we stopped building new ones was because the U.S was to afraid after what happened in Russia, Which as history can tell you, was a sub-optimum power plant, that even our power plants in there WORST conditions were no where near that bad! And the closet we had to a melt down, came from a faulty meter! I believe they 'fixed' that by having redundant meters...

I do have to disagree with someone else though, Wind and Solar energy may not make as big of a dent, unit per unit, but get enough of them, your talking about Free Energy, Little Maitnance, No fuel to replenish, Unlike coal which needs to be constantly mined, hauled to the power plants, burned, and waste shipped away.

The way I see it, Nuclear power would let us get rid of all our 'coal' plants, power our nation, sell our energy to canada and mexico, And in the mean time, give us enough time to replace power plants, with solar farms, wind farms, and hopefully in the near future, Wave Farms. ;)
(Scientists are trying to figure out how to capture the energy of Waves, and it can be potentially huge, as like in certain states, sunlight/wind is a 24/7 thing, its free energy, just waiting to be exploited, little harm to the environment, unlike other things out there. Plus we don't have to worry about the whole waste issue! :P

On a related note, Why don't we just send all our nuclear waste to the moon, or the sun? Its not like we 'need' that waste anymore!
And if you consider thats its a long time commitment to store it, where it can be potentially used for other things, or contaiment could be lost... Sending it out of earths orbit, to the moon or the sun, where no one could get there hands on it, just seems like the cheapest (long term) and most secure option!

Michael said...

This message board is full of BS. I'm a nuclear engineer who works on reactors for the government.

1.) European Breader Reactors
-There are virtually no breader reactors being operated. We do have the technology to create them, yet we have not mastered them. In simple terms, a breader is a reactor which produces fuel during its lifecycle. France has an advanced nuclear system, but because they RECYCLE fuel, not because they are running breaders. And yes, a closed cycle produces 4% of the waste of an open cycle (US). The current cost to build/design a breeder would dwarf the cost of a typical PWR or BWR.

2.)Wind/Solar = free energy
-NO. Wind farms are incredibly inefficent. A windmill is cable of generating a small amount of electricy, and after considering the capacity factor(~10-15%) it's extremely small. Consider the amount of fossil fuel necessary to construct a wind farm (manufacture, transportation, etc.) and you're now in the red.

3.)Nuclear Energy can completely replace fossil fuels.
-This is just not going to happen. Nuclear reactors are expensive - extremely. Are they capable of replacing fossil fuels? Yes. Will they? No. Although the lifetime cost of producing electricity by fission is competitive with production by combustion, the intial risk of building a nuclear plant is a major factor. Investors are hesistant to fund the construction of a nuke plant even though the NRC will garuntee their loans. Also, the coal and oil industries have a significant influence on congress - in cash.

4.)We should dump our radioactive waste into space.
-Not a bad concept, but highly impractical. The cost of building any vehicle to travel into space is huge. Now, build a vehicle that can withstand a catastrophic disaster without releasing any radioactivty - the cost is staggering. Besides, introducing a recycling program and storing our high-level waste in Yucca mountain is far safer, cheaper, and easier.

Finding safe and sustainable energy is not nearly as easy as you would think. However, I encourage you to continue studying nuclear power. It is the safest, most sustainable, and most efficient form of power generation that we have.

Anonymous said...

We all agree that nuclear energy is AWEFUL, but without, we probably wouldn't be here.

Anonymous said...

C) Making nuclear bombs with it is stupid. You detonate a nuclear bomb somewhere else in the world and the fallout will travel for hundreds if not thousands of miles and pollute and kill everything in it's path, potentially you.
--------------------\
This sounds like it was said by someone with the mentality and maturity of a child. The level of intelligence demonstrated is also of a childish level.

We KNOW what happened when nuclear weapons were used on Japan over a half century ago; and the effects did NOT kill people in the USA.

The childish person that posted the original comment is ignorant of the fact that less than 0.03% of the average background radiation is due to fallout. Courtesy of the Physics Dept. of Idaho State University:

http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/
radrus.htm

Why can't people get the scientific facts before they peddle their ill-considered scare tactics?

Anonymous said...

"...as like in certain states, sunlight/wind is a 24/7 thing, its free energy,..."
-----------------

In WHAT "certain states" is sunlight a "24/7 thing". Please, even in Arizona and Nevada; the sun goes down at night!!!

Must be some eco-wacko so enthralled with the "green" energy du jour; that such obviously false statements are trumpeted in a public forum. This shows what type of pablum passes for rational discourse of late.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Generation IV Fast Reactor Strategy. `Nuff Said.