McCain Goes Off the Nuclear Deep End

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The Obama administration’s $54.5 billion plan to ignite the nuclear power industry might seem like the shot in the arm that nuclear advocates have been demanding for some time. But it’s apparently not good enough for John McCain.

One might think that McCain, who has long touted nuclear as the ideal low-carbon fuel source, would be enthused about Barack Obama’s State of the Union statement that creating clean energy jobs “means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.” But apparently not. McCain told The Hill:

During the campaign, I said, ‘Look, the only way we’re going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate, over time, our dependency on foreign oil is nuclear power.’ I said it over and over and over again. So what did this administration just do? They say, ‘We’re for nuclear power, but we’re shutting down Yucca Mountain,’ in which we invested $16 billion. They keep saying, ‘Yes, we’re for nuclear power,’ but the rhetoric is contradicted by their actions. So I cannot engage in serious contemplation, serious discussion, until nuclear power is a viable option. It is not viable when you announce the only place you can store is closing, and they’re not recycling. So it’s a non-starter.

McCain must be living in an alternate universe if $54.5 billion in support for the industry does not live up to the administration’s rhetoric. And while the administration has decided to shut down Yucca, that was largely because it has long been clear that there was very little support for efforts to locate the waste facility there. The Department of Energy has formed a new commission to look at options for waste disposal and recycling, as there are a lot of questions about how exactly that can be done.

McCain’s buddy Lindsey Graham has taken the lead on efforts to pass a nuclear-friendly climate bill this year and calls the Obama administration “very pro-nuclear.” Yet while the Obama administration is holding out nuclear support as an incentive for Republicans to support a climate and energy bill, it looks like that won’t be enough for McCain.

THE END...

of our annual funding cycle is fast approaching, on June 30, and we have a considerable $230,000-plus gap in our online fundraising budget.

If you value the nonprofit journalism you get from Mother Jones, and you can, right now is an important time to help us keep charging hard with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation.

payment methods

THE END...

of our annual funding cycle is fast approaching, on June 30, and we have a considerable $230,000-plus gap in our online fundraising budget.

If you value the nonprofit journalism you get from Mother Jones, and you can, right now is an important time to help us keep charging hard with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate