Friday, January 18, 2008

Press Weighs In on Democrats and Yucca Mountain

That Democratic Presidential debate on Tuesday night in Nevada keeps kicking up some dust.

Here's USA Today:

Yucca Mountain thus becomes the latest evidence of why it's so destructive to give a few early-voting states so much clout in the presidential selection process. Already this year, candidates have gone to Iowa and promised support for wasteful corn-based ethanol, and to Michigan and pledged fealty to the ailing auto industry. In both cases, candidates catered to a single state's interests by promising bad policy for the nation.

Now Nevada joins the list.

At Tuesday's debate in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all vowed to block the remote Yucca Mountain site if they become president — but failed to offer any alternative except more study.

In a singularly disingenuous bit of political jiu-jitsu, Edwards (who twice voted for Yucca Mountain) said he opposed using the site and then said he opposed building any more nuclear power plants because there's no safe way to dispose of the waste.

In an only slightly less irresponsible comment, Obama said he opposed dumping at Yucca even though his home state of Illinois has the most nuclear plants. Let's see whether we follow the logic: His state is contributing more to the problem than any other, but he opposes the only likely solution.

Clinton said she opposed the Yucca site — and attacked Obama and Edwards for not being quite as opposed as she is. Frankly, it was hard to tell the difference.
Here's Investor's Business Daily:
But there may be an even better solution: Recycle spent fuel rods to produce even more greenhouse-gas-reducing nuclear energy.

Over the past four decades, America's reactors have produced about 56,000 tons of used fuel. Jack Spencer, research fellow for nuclear energy policy at the Thomas A. Rowe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, says this "waste" has enough energy to power every U.S. household for a dozen years.

As we've noted, France long ago achieved energy independence by relying on nuclear energy for most of its power needs. But it also leads the world in processing this waste to create even more energy.

The French have reprocessed spent nuclear fuel for 30 years without incident. There have been no accidental explosions, no terrorist attacks, no contribution to nuclear proliferation. Their facility in La Hague has safely processed more than 23,000 tons of spent fuel, or enough to power the entire country for 14 years.

The U.S. pioneered the technology to recapture that energy decades ago, then banned its commercial use in 1977. An energy plan that does not involve continued and even increased use of nuclear power is no plan at all. And even if we closed all nuclear plants tomorrow, the waste problem would remain.

Power to the people — nuclear power.
UPDATE: More from NAM Blog and The Weekly Standard.

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