Most Candidates Open to Nuclear Power

By April 25, 2007Energy, Global Warming

The New York Sun last week carried a useful summary of the presidential candidates’ position on nuclear power. Almost to a man, they see a role for nuclear energy in building America’s energy security and addressing the risk, they believe exists, of anthropogenic global warming. It’s an astonishing change from the anti-nuke sentiment held by national politicians, at least national Democrats, not so long ago.

Each of the top contenders for the Republican nomination and all but one of the major Democratic hopefuls support nuclear power to some extent. Most cite the prospect that atomic energy could help reduce climate change by supplanting power produced by fossil fuel sources such as coal and natural gas.

“The global warming issue is what is causing at least the Democratic candidates to say we need to leave nukes on the table,” Ms. [Rachel] Becker, the executive director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, said.

The exception is former North Carolina Senator John Edwards of trial lawyer fame.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reported [in this story] that during a visit to that city in February, Mr. Edwards declared that atomic energy had no future in America. A spokeswoman for the candidate, Kate Bedingfield, said the report slightly overstated his position, but she added, “He does not advocate building additional nuclear power plants in the U.S.”

Well, now. Edwards also opposes use of America’s abundant coal resources.

America should ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants and charge industry for creating greenhouse gases to generate money for investing in clean technology, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Saturday.

“People ought to have to pay that want to generate greenhouse gases,” Edwards said at a global warming rally that is part of a nationwide day of demonstrations aimed at drawing attention to climate change.

So, Senator, what’s left for baseload power generation? Wind and solar energy are not realistically going to produce enough affordable, reliable baseload power to meet the demands of a growing economy (and manufacturers). Are you going to dam any more rivers?

Anyway, Edwards’ position smacks of unseriouness, certainly toward the demands of the manufacturing economy. And for a presidential candidate, he’s declaring a remarkably self-destructive political choice. What presidential candidate who runs on a “DEATH TO COAL” banner is going to win the (possibly) swing states of West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia?

Join the discussion One Comment

  • skh.pcola says:

    France gets ~80% of its electricity via nukes. We’re around 25%, IIRC. If the Enviro-Luddites won’t let us avail ourselves of our indigenous bequest of natural resources, then we will ultimately be forced to either build nuclear power plants or further enrich regimes that are antithetical to civilization.

    ‘Course, we could simply tell the enviroweenies to pound sand, but that wouldn’t further the intellectual debate at all, would it?