Skip to main content

Obama on Yucca Mountain

We already knew from the Democratic debate in Nevada that Barack Obama had no use for Yucca Mountain, but despite this, and John McCain’s support of the brown mound, McCain and Obama are within a couple points of each other. Now, Obama is trying to close the deal, using Yucca Mountain as the wedge.

Well, what can we say? We either leave use nuclear fuel scattered around the country – it’s mostly held at the individual plants – or we put it in a similarly remote locale that’s not in a battleground state. Yucca Mountain may well come to represent the dangers of any long-term project subject to the hot winds of political fortune – no matter the overall good it represents. Much the same argument could be made for humming windmill farms or solar panel arrays that mar the fine landscape of some state no matter how far away from people they are.

But Obama’s position has been consistent – it’s certainly legitimate to show how it differs from McCain’s, and the ad is admittedly effective in having McCain play the NIMBY card, since Arizona lay directly next to Nevada. However, NIMBY is the name of the Yucca game and Obama has the winning hand.

A 30-second spot is not the place to develop a replacement for Yucca Mountain nor are Nevadans interested in one. However, even if Obama closed every nuclear plant in the country, he would still need a solution for used nuclear fuel or the government will have to support storing the fuel at the plants and pay for mini-repositories in multiple locales. This is really a bigger issue than a TV spot can address and our annoyance at the ad is picayune – politicians boil their messages down to bite-size morsels on most important issues, so no room to gripe about this one.

Comments

KenG said…
It appears that the McCain is taken out of context and may not actually reflect a concern about transportation. When you see the whole video, he seems to think the question is whether or not he would support storing waste in Phoenix.

Even Grist.org (not a fan of nuclear or McCain) seems to agree this isn't a fair use of the quote:

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/6/25/134512/387
Anonymous said…
"When you see the whole video, he seems to think the question is whether or not he would support storing waste in Phoenix."

So what? The NIMBY point remains the same: McCain's apparently willing to dump nuclear waste in Nevada, but not in Arizona.
toothache said…
It's a shame that nuclear waste can become a political football in this manner, but an unavoidable byproduct of the collegiate system

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…