Thursday, August 26, 2010

Boehner on Nuclear Energy, Arizona Match-Up

John-Boehner Here’s House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) during the Q&A following his economic speech yesterday:

QUESTION: The only repository for nuclear waste planned or conceived or developed for this country is Yucca Mountain in Nevada, and it is stopped dead in its tracks by [Sen.] Harry Reid (R-Nev.). If the Republicans can take back Congress, what position would the party take on opening Yucca Mountain so our nuclear reactors have someplace to put their waste?

BOEHNER: Most Republicans have supported Yucca Mountain for the twenty years that I've been here and the American people would be shocked to know how much nuclear waste is laying just miles from their home. It's laying at every nuclear plant in the country and why? Because we can't get Yucca Mountain finished because it's not politically correct. We've invested tens of billions of dollars in a storage facility that's as safe as anything we're going to find.

Rep. Boehner is 100% correct, utility ratepayers have invested close to $33 billion in a program to safely store used fuel in a national repository as called for in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. One of Mr. Boehner’s caucus, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) recently introduced legislation to establish a new framework for addressing the used nuclear fuel repository issue. That may point a path forward that Rep. Boehner can support.

We could quibble here and there, but Boehner has it right on Yucca Mountain.


Primary season isn’t quite over yet, but I thought I’d visit the sites of of some of the higher profile winners over the next while to see how the candidates view energy issues. Let’s start with Arizona’s House winners.


Ben Quayle won the Republic nomination for Arizona’s 3rd district. Here’s what he has to say on energy:

We need a comprehensive plan for energy independence in America.   Free market innovation is the only way that we will be able to create a future that is sustainable.  Energy is a vital piece of our economy.  While initiatives in so-called green-energy are well intended, these initiatives need to be market based; otherwise, we are just throwing money away. Roadblocks to clean nuclear energy are disastrous and need to be removed.  We also need to open up exploration for energy on our own soil.

If he wins the general election, we’ll get a better ideas of what he considers to be roadblocks – he’s very free market oriented, so he may have regulations in mind. Here’s his bit on the environment:

We need a responsible environmental policy that balances our need to conserve our environment for future generations with our need to grow our economy and provide opportunity and prosperity for them.  We need to have a rational environmental policy, not one that is driven by politics and special interests or based on pseudo science.

Quayle faces Democrat Jon Hulburd, who was unopposed (Quayle had nine opponents.) Hulburd’s and Quayle’s energy ideas have definite points of contact:

To build a strong economy, we MUST loosen ourselves from the grip of foreign oil giants and instead invest in domestic alternative fuel sources. In so doing, we can concentrate on creating jobs and robust industry within our own borders, in turn attracting foreign investment and diversifying the economy of Arizona and the nation.

He prefers renewable energy sources:

By investing in alternative clean energies, such as solar and wind power, we will create a new American industry and strengthen our national security. I believe we must extend tax incentives for the clean energy industry and support new and existing solar power companies in Arizona.

If I read Quayle right, he’d prefer not to offer tax incentives to energy generators, so that’s a difference between them. Nothing about nuclear energy from Hulburd but nothing negative either.

Quayle and Hulburd are running to fill an open seat (Rep. John Shadegg (R) is retiring). No polls on the matchup yet, but every competitive race this year has been a squeaker.

House Minority Leader John Boehner.


DocForesight said...

I knew relatively little 18 months ago about nuclear energy, used nuclear fuel, advanced reactor designs and the Goliath that nuclear is when compared to other forms of electricity generation. If I can learn, then so can Rep. Boehner - and respond to these types of questions with more thought and preparation. Good grief!

The "spent nuclear fuel" is safe where it is and represents a valuable source of additional power when recycled or 'burned' in a LFTR or IFR. That doesn't diminish the Fed responsibility but it demonstrates how little some reps know.

More tax credits for wind or solar will not alter the laws of physics. And to what alternative fuel sources does Hulburd refer? Inquiring minds want to know.

Philip said...

It seems to me that it is human nature to dream of bigger, better things. This tendency can be a great inspiration in some cases, but in some cases it can be misplaced.

In the 50s we dreamed of flying cars and rocket packs. Now we dream of running society on windmills and solar panels. There is just as much reality in a future powered by so-called "renewables" as there is in a future where we fly our cars to work or wear jetpacks.

Meanwhile, one of the interesting things I learned in one of my college courses a few years ago is there is usually a time lag between the invention of a truly game-changing technology and its widespread adoption. Ford didn't invent the assembly line; the concept had been invented about 60 years previous. He just took it to the next level, and it became widespread.

Lots of major game-changing technologies illustrate this kind of time-lag. I'm of the opinion that nuclear will follow a similar pattern.

Hope this comment isn't too irrelevant to this post, but the faith in "renewables" is IMO very much like our 50's faith that we'll be riding air cars or rocket packs to work.

Imagine the implications on civilization of an energy source that is practically limitless and does not pollute (for all intents and purposes).