In the interest of fairness, we looked for a few actual quotes from the remaining Presidential candidates on nuclear energy. All of these quotes have appeared on NEI Nuclear Notes before, but it might be useful to gather them together.
First, Hilary Clinton at a campaign stop in South Carolina in October of last year (a little cleaned up from the transcript):
I think nuclear power has to be part of our energy solution. I think we've got to do a better job at figuring out how we're going to deal with the waste. You know, because in a post 9/11 world we've got to be very careful about the waste and about how we run our nuclear plants.
I don't have any preconceived opposition. I want to be sure that we do it right, as carefully as we can, because obviously it's a tremendous source of energy. We get about twenty percent of our energy from nuclear power in our country. A lot of people don't realize that. And other countries, like France, get much much more.
So we do have to look at it because it doesn't put greenhouse gas emissions into the air. But we have to make sure it's done as safely as possible.
Second, Barack Obama from the Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College last September:
I don't think that we can take nuclear power off the table. What we have to make sure of is that we have the capacity to store waste properly and safely, and that we reduce whatever threats might come from terrorism. And if we can do that in a technologically sound way, then we should pursue it. If we can't, we should not. But there is no magic bullet on energy. We're going to have to look at all the various options.
Third, John McCain, in an Interview with The Detroit News’ editorial board in January of this year:
I believe we can and are developing technologies that can have a dramatic effect on greenhouse gas emissions. I believe we have to go back to nuclear power. Why can’t we look at what the French have done? About 80 percent of their electricity is generated by nuclear power. And they are the closest to meeting the Kyoto goals that they set for themselves.
Odd to see candidates on both sides of the partisan divide bowing to the French - aren't they wrong about everything? - but otherwise, all three candidates are saying publicly that nuclear energy cannot be ignored. Candidates frequently finesse their statements based on their audiences, as we saw when the Democrats clamored over each other to be the first to torpedo Yucca Mountain at the Nevada debate, but these are clear, public statements of support.
Ironically, it is Al Gore, surely no friend of nuclear energy, who has cornered Democrats into acknowledging that America cannot address climate change without nuclear. Further, despite a continuing debate in popular culture, no one in government goes very far out of their way to dispute climate change or the role of nuclear in mitigating carbon emission.
Nuclear energy has walked through the door that Al Gore kicked down, and no Democrat seems to have a way to get that door back on its hinges. In many cases, they even like the breeze that comes through.