The National Review has a terrific piece on our old friend Paul Newman and his support for nuclear energy. Here's a taster:
“In all the meetings I had with Paul Newman, he struck me as very open-minded and inquisitive,” says [Denis Beller, a professor of engineering at the University of Nevada]. “He came out to Nevada in 2002 and visited the Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, where several faculty members showed him research on the transmutation of nuclear waste. They also discussed why ideas like launching nuclear waste into the sun were not really practical. The visit ended with a trip to Yucca Mountain, where Kevin Phillips, the mayor of neighboring Caliente, whose front porch is only 50 yards from the rail line where waste would be transported, told Newman he was not opposed to the project. Later [Newman] told me, ‘That’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen.’”
There's also a shout-out to NEI's involvement with Newman-Wachs, Newman's car racing outlet:
In 2002 Newman and [Eddie] Wachs formed Newman Wachs Racing, which fielded two cars that carried 26 nuclear decals and a public service message promoting nuclear power. Two year later the Nuclear Energy Institute became aware of their effort and sponsored a car emblazoned with the message “Nuclear — Clean Air Energy,” which won the opening race of the 2008 Champ Car Atlantic season. The car and its racing crew subsequently visited several engineering schools around the country to encourage young people to enter the nuclear profession.
You know that with National Review, there's going to be a few zingers at left-wing Hollywood types, but writers William Tucker and Stephanie Gutmann can't quite get past their bona fides to a central point: Paul Newman supported nuclear energy and was still a committed "lefty."
We've noted many times here that nuclear energy has just about become a post-ideological subject and opposing or supporting it is no longer an index to a person's political leaning. We think National Review missed a great opening here: pat themselves on the back for helping this to occur. Might hurt to lose the issue, but a win is a win. They could then move on to more reliable hot button issues - drilling in ANWR, tax breaks to oil companies - the kind of thing that does still inflame the left.