Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nuclear Power and Obama

I read a very interesting article in this month's GQ magazine on nuclear power, titled Meltdown, by Wil S. Hylton (GQ March 2008, p 306, and online here). I found it so interesting and enlightening that I immediately logged on to www.barackobama.com to see what Obama's position was on the issue. It was mostly encouraging but buried deep (I had to download a PDF of his energy plan to find the information I wanted), so I interpret that to mean it's not high enough priority to put on his Energy & Environment page.

I encourage you to read the article, and read his position on it in the PDF (just search for nuclear). And if you feel strongly about it, write him a letter. I did.


I recently read a very interesting article on Nuclear Power and its state in our country in the March 2008 issue of GQ: Meltdown, by Wil S. Hylton, p304. If Senator Obama has not yet read the article himself, I strongly encourage him to do so.

I will preface this letter by saying that virtually the entirety of my "knowledge" of nuclear power comes from this one article, but it was a compelling enough article to get me to write.

This article discusses the fear around nuclear power, but compares it to the reality of its safety, including the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents. It compares the cleanliness of nuclear power (zero carbon footprint) to coal and oil. It compares our general mistrust of nuclear power, along with that of most other nations, to those who continue to use (and profit greatly) from it, such as France and the United Kingdom (France profits $4B per year from sold nuclear energy). It goes on to discuss storage of waste, and what it deems "waste", or spent uranium which can be easily converted (extracted) into plutonium and put back to work as additional fuel - but is inexplicably illegal in this country (even though the UK actually cleans spent uranium from other countries and profits from it). And of course it discusses Yucca Mountain, the heavily disputed but most viable solution for long-term nuclear waste storage.

After reading this article I immediately logged onto barackobama.com to see what Obama's stand on this issue was. I had to dig into the Energy Plan to find what I was looking for, but I was encouraged to read that he is a supporter of nuclear power and believes that it has a great future, albeit with some important issues to address. Unfortunately I also read that "Barack Obama believes that Yucca Mountain is not an option". From what I've read in this article, there seems to be NO other option even close to the viability of Yucca Mountain, and it seems that before nuclear energy can be put back on the table for voters to support and get behind, a solution to the storage needs to be solved quickly. And Yucca Mountain appears to be that solution.

Between changing the law so that plutonium can be extracted from spent uranium, virtually turning all of our waste into fuel, and only then storing the true waste in Yucca Mountain, we have the solution to power staring us in the face.

We can radically reduce our dependency on foreign oil, reduce our carbon emissions massively, and lower energy costs. When Obama is president, he could well be the man to get our nation behind nuclear energy again and make up for nearly 30 years of lost time.

a supporter and donator,
-Joseph Linaschke