prepared by Alexander Lee/Clamshell Yahoo Group
John McCain has consistently misrepresented Senator Obama's position on nuclear energy and we suspect that he may well do so again today when he discusses the issue in Michigan. Below is information to ensure you have a clear sense of where both Senator Obama and Senator McCain stand on the issue...
Barack Obama supports safe and secure nuclear energy. Nuclear power represents more than 70 percent of our noncarbon generated electricity. It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power as an option. However, before an expansion of nuclear power is considered, Obama thinks key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation. Barack Obama introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to establish guidelines for tracking, controlling and accounting for spent fuel at nuclear power plants. To prevent international nuclear material from falling into terrorist hands abroad, Obama worked closely with Sen. Dick Lugar (R‐IN) to strengthen international efforts to identify and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction. As president, Obama will make safeguarding nuclear material both abroad and in the U.S. atop anti‐terrorism priority. In terms of waste storage, Obama does not believe that Yucca Mountain is a suitable site. He will lead federal efforts to look for safe, long‐term disposal solutions based on objective, scientific analysis. In the meantime, Obama will develop requirements to ensure that the waste stored at current reactor sites is contained using the most advanced dry‐cask storage technology available.
MCCAIN'S CLAIM THAT OBAMA OPPOSES NUCLEAR POWER IS "FALSE"
Annenberg/UPenn Factcheck.org: "The McCain Ad Also Portrays Obama As Saying 'No' To Nuclear" And That's "False." Factcheck.org wrote, "The McCain ad also portrays Obama as saying 'no to clean, safe, nuclear energy.' That's false. Obama has said he's open to building new nuclear plants if they are clean and safe. As we noted in a recent article, McCain bases his claim on a partial quote from Obama from a town hall meeting in Newton, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 2007. Obama had been asked whether he was 'truly comfortable' with the safety of nuclear power. Obama, Dec. 30, 2007: 'I start off with the premise that nuclear energy is not optimal. ... I am not a nuclear energy proponent.' If that was all Obama said it would not make him an opponent of nuclear power, of course. It would make him 'Dr. Maybe,' but not 'Dr. No.' And In fact, Obama went on to say later in the same response: Obama, Dec. 30, 2007: 'There is no perfect energy source. Everything has some problems right now. We haven't found it yet. Now I trust in our ingenuity. ... I have not ruled out nuclear as part of that [$150 billion proposed energy research] package, but only so far as it is clean and safe.' Furthermore, the energy plan Obama released in October 2007 said: 'It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table.'… It's inaccurate to cast Obama as an opponent, and McCain goes too far when he portrays Obama as saying 'no' to nuclear." [Factcheck.org, 6/26/08
OBAMA HAS CONSISTENLY BEEN OPEN TO MORE NUCLEAR POWER
Obama position on Nuclear power: Nuclear power represents more than 70 percent of our noncarbon generated electricity. It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table. However, there is no future for expanded nuclear without first addressing four key issues: public right-to-know, security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation. Barack Obama introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to establish guidelines for tracking, controlling and accounting for spent fuel at nuclear power plants. To prevent international nuclear material from falling into terrorist hands abroad, Obama worked closely with Sen. Dick Lugar (R – IN) to strengthen international efforts to identify and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction. As president, Obama will make safeguarding nuclear material both abroad and in the U.S. a top anti-terrorism priority. Obama will also lead federal efforts to look for a safe, long-term disposal solution based on objective, scientific analysis. In the meantime, Obama will develop requirements to ensure that the waste stored at current reactor sites is contained using the most advanced dry-cask storage technology available. Barack Obama believes that Yucca Mountain is not an option. Our government has spent billions of dollars on Yucca Mountain, and yet there are still significant questions about whether nuclear waste can be safely stored there. [http://www.barackobama.com/issues/pdf/EnergyFactSheet.pdf]
· Obama: Nuclear Power Isn't A Panacea But We Should Invest In R&D To See If We Can Store It Safely Since It Doesn't Emit Greenhouse Gasses. Obama said, "I've said this before, I don't think that nuclear power is a panacea. But I also think that given that it doesn't emit greenhouse gases, for us to invest some R&D into seeing whether we can store nuclear waste safely, or reuse it. These are all areas where the market interacting with a clear set of rules by the federal government and billions of dollars devoted to research and development can, I think, trigger the kind of economic growth that we haven't seen in this country for a long time." [Obama Remarks, 6/20/08
· Obama Said We Have To Look At Nuclear And It Can Be An Effective Option If We Figure Out The Storage And Safety Issues. Obama said on Meet The Press, "I think we do have to look at nuclear, and what we've got to figure out is can we store the material properly? Can we make sure that they're secure? Can we deal with the expense? Because the problem is, is that a lot of our nuclear industry, it reinvents the wheel. Each nuclear power plant that is proposed has a new design, has--it, it has all kinds of changes, there are all sorts of cost overruns. So it has not been an effective option. That doesn't mean that it can't be an effective option, but we're going to have to figure out storage and safety issues. And my attitude when it comes to energy is there's no silver bullet. We've got to be--we've, we've got to look at every possible option." [Meet The Press, 5/4/08
· Obama Said He Would Explore Safer Ways To Use Nuclear Power And Accelerate Research Into Technologies That Safe Storage Technologies. "We will also explore safer ways to use nuclear power, which right now accounts for more than 70% of our non-carbon generated electricity. We should accelerate research into technologies that will allow for the safe, secure treatment of nuclear waste. As President, I'll continue the work I began in the Senate to ensure that all nuclear material is stored, secured and accounted for - both at home and around the world. There should be no short cuts or regulatory loopholes - period." [Speech On Clean Energy Future, 10/3/07]
· Obama: We Can't Take Nuclear Power Off The Table. Obama said, "I don't think that we can take nuclear power off the table. What we have to make sure of is that we have the capacity to store it properly and safely, and that we reduce whatever threats might come from terrorism. And if we can do that in a technologically sound way, then we should pursue it. If we can't, we should not. But there is no magic bullet on energy. We're going to have to look at all the various options to reduce greenhouse gases and to put us on a path to energy independence." [Democratic Debate, 9/26/07
OBAMA WAS ATTACKED IN THE PRIMARY FOR HIS OPENNESS TO NUCLEAR POWER
· Obama Contrasted With Edwards, Said We Should Explore Nuclear Power As Part Of The Energy Mix. After John Edwards said he opposed nuclear plants, Obama said, "I actually think that we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix. There are no silver bullets to this issue. We have to develop solar. I have proposed drastically increasing fuel efficiency standards on cars, an aggressive cap on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted. But we're going to have to try a series of different approaches." [Youtube Debate, 8/13/07
· Edwards Attacked Obama For Being "Open To The Possibility Of Additional Power Plants" And Obama Defended Himself Saying That The Country Should "Create A Menu Of Energy Options." Edwards "added that, unlike Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, he is completely opposed to the building of more nuclear power plants—a point he so often makes when addressing voters on the campaign trail. Edwards said that Obama is 'open to the possibility of additional power plants' and that Clinton has said she is 'agnostic' on the subject. Obama defended himself, saying that he has long been a critic of Yucca Mountain, yet added that the country should "create a menu of energy options" in handling the storage of nuclear waste and 'see where the science and the technology and the entrepreneurship of the American people take us.'" [Fox News, 1/17/08
· NYT: Edwards "Eagerly Pointed Out" That A Difference Between Him And Obama Was That Obama Has Been Supportive Of Building More Nuclear Power Plants. "Mr. Edwards also eagerly pointed out a difference between himself and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois: Nuclear power. 'I'm very strongly against building any more nuclear power plants,' Mr. Edwards said. 'I think it is an inviting terrorist target. I'm against it. I think Senator Obama has in the past been supportive of building more nuclear power plants,' he continued. 'We just have a difference on that issue -– and that's an issue that people should be aware of.'" [New York Times, 12/16/07
MCCAIN RECORD ON NUCLEAR WASTE
McCain Claims on Job Creation Unrealistic: McCain claimed that his plan to build 45 new nuclear plants will create 700,000 jobs, a claim that has no basis in fact. In order for that to be case, each plant would have to create 15,556 unique jobs (meaning no construction workers from one plant would be used to help build others). Even the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry's trade association isn't that bullish on nuclear plants. They say the average nuclear plant.
· employs 1,400 to 1,800 people during construction (with peak employment as high as 2,400)
· employs 400 to 700 people long-term, at salaries typically substantially higher than the average salaries in the local area.
· creates economic activity that generates 400 to 700 additional jobs locally
· Total jobs per plant (2,200-3,800)
Even under this rosy industry-created scenario, McCain's math is not even in the ballpark. [http://www.nei.org/keyissues/newnuclearplants/economicbenefitsofnewnuclearplants/]
McCain Has Consistently Voted to Approve Yucca Mountain As A Nuclear Waste Dump Site. In 2002, John McCain voted to approve a site at Yucca Mountain as a repository for nuclear and radioactive waste. After the vote, McCain said that storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain would answer "one of the most important environmental, health and public safety issues for the American people." In 2000, McCain voted to override the presidential veto of legislation that would establish a permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. In 1997, McCain similarly voted to establish a repository at the Mountain. McCain voted yes on a similar bill in 1996. [2002 Senate Vote #167, 7/9/2002; The Arizona Republic, 7/10/2002; 2000 Senate Vote #88, 5/2/2000; 1998 Senate Vote #148, 6/2/1998; 1997 Senate Vote #42, 4/15/1997; 1996 Senate Vote #259, 7/31/1996; 1996 Senate Vote #256, 7/31/1996]
McCain: "I Am For Yucca Mountain." The Las Vegas Sun reported that in 2007 McCain told the Deseret News, "I am for Yucca Mountain. I'm for storage facilities. It's a lot better than sitting outside power plants all over America." [Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, NV), 5/28/08]
McCain: "I Believe That Yucca Mountain Is A Suitable Place For Storage." At a campaign event in Springfield, Pennsylvania, McCain said, "I believe that Yucca Mountain is a suitable place for storage and I know that there's controversy about it and lawsuits and all that. But shouldn't America, a country as smart and as wise as we are, be able to find a place to store spent fuel?" [CNN Live Feed (Springfield, PA), 3/14/08]
McCain Senior Adviser Holtz-Eakin Called Political Opposition To Yucca Mountain "Harmful To the U.S. Interests." "McCain criticized both Democrats for their opposition to Yucca Mountain. 'The political opposition to the Yucca Mountain storage facility is harmful to the U.S. interest and the facility should be completed, opened and utilized,' McCain adviser Holtz-Eakin said." [Reuters, 5/6/08]
prepared by Alexander Lee/Clamshell Yahoo Group