Skip to main content

Barack Obama on Nuclear Energy

In an interview on "Meet the Press," Sen. Barack Obama (D) was asked by host Tim Russert to discuss his position on Nuclear Energy.
Russert: In terms of climate change, global warming, you've talked about wind and solar and biofuels. What about nuclear? All—in all realistic assessment, don't we need more nuclear power in order to wean ourselves off of those same fuels that are contaminating the world?

Obama: I think we do have to look at nuclear, and what we've got to figure out is can we store the material properly? Can we make sure that they're secure? Can we deal with the expense? Because the problem is, is that a lot of our nuclear industry, it reinvents the wheel. Each nuclear power plant that is proposed has a new design, has—it, it has all kinds of changes, there are all sorts of cost overruns. So it has not been an effective option. That doesn't mean that it can't be an effective option, but we're going to have to figure out storage and safety issues. And my attitude when it comes to energy is there's no silver bullet. We've got to be—we've, we've got to look at every possible option.

Comments

10ksnooker said…
I wonder why there are cost overruns? Could it be the ... Nah couldn't be, could it?

Wins prize for most nonsensical answer yet.
Joffan said…
I think 10ksnooker is projecting a pre-existing dislike of Obama onto this answer. Don't lock this debate into party politics. It's too important.

Actually it's a very good answer for nuclear power, given the constituency that Obama is currently courting. If he is elected, he can "discover" the already-running design licensing process (approving standard designs, rather than designing each plant). He can "discover" that nuclear power has a safety record second to none. And he can "discover" that Yucca Mountain is a reasonable solution to waster, especially if it has its license at that point. All of which could allow him to push forward with nuclear power expansion.
Anonymous said…
Standard stock answer, nothing exiting, but at least Obama picks the correct part of the prevailing common wisdom.

Yes, nuclear in the US has had a nasty cost control problem from the 70s to the 90s and the long term destiny of spent fuel is the other big issue, still wide open and in need for some serious decision making.

That Obama can correctly identify those issues and doesn't descent in incoherents about radioactive leaks means we're in a much better shape than with any past presidential candidate in the last 25 years, Republican or Democrat. Admittedly, the bar is pretty darn low...

The fact that Excelon Corp. is one of his biggest corporate donors may have something to do with it :>
Anonymous said…
But Joffan, Obama is Democrat and likely won't discover any of those things. McCain is openly pro-nuclear power. McCain is a sure bet. Obama is not. Nor is Hillary. The past track record of Dems at the presidential level is anti-nuclear. Repubs haven't been much better, but they have been better. And Bush - God bless his heart - started GNEP and is opnely and adamantly pro-nuclear. Personally, I wouldn't trust a Dem with a baby's life, given Roe v Wade.
Joffan said…
Call me an optimist, but I see this answer as a positioning for Obama to "discover" exactly the things I described. And the reason I quote "discover" is because I think Obama already knows these facts but does not wish to jar the anti-nuclear faction within the Democrat base just yet.

I think this is the wrong place for a general political discussion.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous, republicans are for nuclear energy? Perhaps in their speeches. What happened during the all last GOP presidencies? Nuclear power was kept frozen. To build the 1-st power plant in the US took 2.5 years including changing the fuel from metal to oxide. The build the 441-st nuclear power plant - after Regan and two Bushes - it takes 10 years. What a shame!

I liked McCain, that guy whose conscious opposed Bush's tax cut, who argued against torture as a wrong policy on ethical and factual grounds - torture produces bad intelligence. I don't want to see 3rd Bush term.


Recent nuclear revival is caused by real needs for more power in the times when fossil fuel prices soar. No administration can stop that. I am certainly suspicious of Clinton's intentions, but even she'll have to realize that even with grand solar plan we'd need more nuclear. Much more indeed.

Therefore I think the best candidate is Obama, he is of the least antinuclear among democrats, and I agree with Joffan that 'change is going to come' ;-)

-t- (not the other anonymouses)
Anonymous said…
If men could have babies, abortion would be a sacrament.

Let's stick to nuclear power or this board will become a mess...
Gunter said…
There's this Texas saying about taking such middle of the positions,

"The thing about being in the middle of the road is that you wind up getting hit from both sides."

Popular posts from this blog

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?