Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nuclear Cheese from Wisconsin

WISCONSIN_CHEESE BIG Well, cheese, yes, and delicious cheese at that, perhaps created with help from electricity generated by the Dominion-owned Kewaunee nuclear plant, but we mean the  endorsement of nuclear energy coming from Governor Jim Doyle and the cheesiness of the odd hedging Doyle engaged in to get to it.

Doyle said Friday in a conference call organized by the Obama campaign that he agrees with Obama that nuclear power should be considered. Actively endorsing the consideration of nuclear power is a change for Doyle, who previously emphasized his position that the first new plant in the country won't be built in Wisconsin.

Presumably, Doyle is leaving the door open to reverse his position if the political winds shift against it, but it seems a not very coherent stance. The first new plant will be built when a company gets NRC approval and breaks ground. That’s unlikely to be Wisconsin – none of the license applications pending or in progress are for a plant there - so Doyle’s statement makes no particular sense. It doesn’t even seem all that coherent politically.

Doyle spoke out about nuclear power Wednesday, saying he backs his global warming task force's recommendation that utilities be allowed to propose new nuclear power plants under certain conditions. The task force says the plants should be built at a reasonable cost and help meet emission goals.

Ah, there we go. With a task force coming out with the recommendation, Doyle has sufficient cover to make a statement. Even here, there is a fair measure of hedging – of course, such a plant would help meet emission goals if it replaces a emission-producing plant or two and of course, Dominion or another company won’t build  a plant at an unreasonable cost – and with the federal loan guarantee program, a reasonable cost becomes more likely. All this caution piles the cheddar a little thick, but we’ll take it anyway.

Perhaps the Democrats in general and Gov. Doyle in particular are approaching nuclear energy like a squirrel approaches an outstretched hand offering a peanut – ready to bolt at any moment – but it’s a signal change for the party and, we think, a harbinger of  acceptance from the Dems and an Obama administration going forward.

When you’ve got a signature product, flaunt it. After all, we don’t disagree: it is all about the cheese, isn’t it?

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