Skip to main content

Sarah Palin Talks Energy - as The Race Winds Down

sarah_palin The Presidential campaign is, after 127 years, winding down and the candidates are essentially making their final pitches - generally dialing back the attacks and amping up the positive messages - city on the hill, the future is bright, that kind of thing.

So it's interesting to see that Sarah Palin gave a full speech on energy issues today. This has proven to be one of the brightest lights of the McCain/Palin campaign because it responds in a focused way to an issue of concern. That light has dimmed a bit due to the drop in oil prices and a bit more due to the stock market tsunami, so it strikes us as a good topic on which to wind things down. Even if the short-term concern has drooped away a bit, it's still a concern and worth a hearing.

The speech can be found on the campaign Web site here. Here's the take-away on nuclear energy:

Another essential means to energy independence is a dramatic expansion in our use of nuclear energy. In a McCain administration, we will set this nation on a course to build 45 new reactors by the year 2030. And we will set the goal of 100 new plants to power the homes and factories and cities of America.

This task will be as difficult as it is necessary. We will need to recover all the knowledge and skills that have been lost over three stagnant decades in a highly technical field. We will need to solve complex problems of moving and storing materials that will always need safeguarding. We will need to do all of these things, and do them right, as we have done great things before.

The line about safeguarding materials seems awfully close to Obama's concerns about safety and not McCain's repeated assurance that Yucca Mountain is the way to go - we've noticed Governor Palin has been marking out some territory as her own and this might fall into that category - but she has the balance between growing the infrastructure and the workforce about right. These things are happening anyway, but it's good to know Palin wants to encourage it further.

---

So, we're less than a week from the election, Obama's big pitch comes tonight, the campaigns are trying to flip a few stubborn states (Gov. Plain delivered her speech in Toledo - the next election should have an Ohioan on a ticket just so we can deny the state its favored status - hrmff!), and our hair is a little - grayer - and thinner.

Search for any of the four candidates in the handy box above if you'd like to get caught up on NNN's coverage of the debates, speeches, and conventions - and then do the same amongst the sites you visit for the other topics that interest you.

Can't speak for anyone but me, of course, but this feels like the most consequential presidential election of my wastrel life - I first voted during the Carter/Reagan match-up, so there's been some big ones - and although nuclear energy figures heavily in my thinking, many other issues do, too. And the candidates, darn them, have made this one tough decision.

Tough, but not impossible. So be sure to vote this year. Vote luminously - vote radiantly - but vote.

Governor Palin.

Comments

Rod Adams said…
Mark:

Though an inspiring infomercial in most respects, Obama managed to leave nuclear completely off of his list of responses to our twin energy challenges - supply security and emissions control.

Perhaps I am wrong to be concerned. Perhaps Obama has been convinced through his study of the issue that the easy thing to do is to redefine the word "renewable" to include all non-carbon sources that can operate for the foreseeable future of human society.

By that definition, fission would become another (the best IMHO) choice in the renewable menu and thus an integral part of the energy infrastructure.
Anonymous said…
I told you guys again and again - Obama and Biden ARE anti-nuclear. Say what you want. Collect all the senator and representative responses you want to. Criticize me by saying this offers nothing to the conversation: BUT mark my words - an Obama administration WILL appoint anti-nukes to the NRC and anti-nukes to DOE. Obama WILL kill the nuclear resurgence. Obama WILL kill GNEP. Hopefully all he'll be is another Jimmy Carter - one term idiot president. And yes, Mark Flanaghan, this IS the most important election, one where liberalism and socialism have GOT to be defeated.

Go Sarah Go!

OK, now let's hear the ridicule.
Brian Mays said…
Rod:

No, you are right to be concerned.

Before McCain, the most pro-nuclear presidential candidate was Paul Tsongas (a Democrat from Massachusetts, no less). Another presidential hopeful, William Clinton, used that support of nuclear as a weapon to bludgeon him during the early part of the 1992 campaign.

As we all know, the Clinton/Gore administration was no friend of nuclear power. They even zeroed out the DOE's R&D budget for nuclear technology in 1998.

Obama's rhetoric is hardly reassuring, but it is not as bad as President Clinton's.
Anonymous said…
The thing to watch will be whether an Obama administration focuses on mandating technologies (e.g., on a renewable portfolio standard), or on mandating environmental goals and letting the market pick the winners (e.g., a cap and trade program for carbon emissions). I'm nervous that Obama will prefer the centralized planning approach.
Matthew Smith said…
The centralised planning approach worked for France.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/4/10/182655/427
Anonymous said…
Indeed, France got lucky that its centralized planning picked a technology that was capable of winning.

In the U.S., the actual centralized planning we see involves renewable portfolio standards. I'd prefer to have the market pick the winner, and not rely upon luck that the central planner was correct....
Anonymous said…
France wasn't lucky when it chose nuclear.

France was run ny a bunch of no-nonsense elite engineers.

Not by a bunch of freaking lawyers and MBA's without any understanding of the physical reality, as a certain other nation I can mention is.

/Starvid
sefarkas said…
To those in and around the commercial nuclear power business, the clear choice on Tuesday, 4Nov2008 are the Republican candidates for Congress, and particularly John McCain for President. The only politician who has been more outspoken than John McCain regarding new nuclear is Vice President Cheney. At stake are appointments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the federal judges. Those judges will hear the suits filed by environmentalists and anti-development interests that seek to stop new nuclear power construction as well as shutdown existing plants like Vermont Yankee. Republicans in Congress and President Bush have managed to bring energy legislation that underpins the new nuclear projects in this country. That same legislation clears many hurdles to building the grid infrastructure. Leftist plans for wind turbines and other intermittent sources of electric power will make the power grid unreliable because the system is designed for steady base-load power. A nuclear build program will employ thousands. We see the proof commercial nuclear power is safe everyday. The record is clear, commercial nuclear power is one of the most successful industries in terms of any safety measure that can be made. The Republican politicians that have supported the nuclear industry deserve your support. John McCain believes in the goodness of the nuclear power industry. Barrack Obama still needs to be convinced it is safe.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…