Wednesday, August 6, 2008

McCain: Not Comfortable With Nuclear Waste Through Arizona, But Just Fine for Pennsylvania
McCain Nuclear Plan Would Bring At Least 6,349 Casks of Dangerous, Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste Through Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—As John McCain is paying a visit today to the Enrico Fermi nuclear generating station in Monroe, Michigan he can be expected to tout his costly plan to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and 55 more after that. This plan would effectively double the number of nuclear reactors and the amount of dangerous high-level nuclear waste that would need to be transported across the country.

The Sierra Club is today calling attention to the YouTube video that surfaced earlier this year which shows John McCain clearly saying—while shaking his head ‘no’—that he would not be comfortable with nuclear waste traveling through his own home state of Arizona on its way to the unsafe and unproven Yucca Mountain site—something for which John McCain has been one of the Senate’s biggest proponents.

The video can be viewed at:

Transcript (beginning at 1:14): Interviewer: What about the transportation? Would you be comfortable with nuclear waste coming through Arizona on its way, you know going through Phoenix, on its way to uh Yucca Mountain? McCain (Shaking Head): “No, I would not. No, I would not.”

“Why does John McCain think its okay for hundreds of tons of dangerous nuclear waste to go through Pennsylvania but yet too dangerous to go through his own state?” said Hillary Bright, Sierra Club. “John McCain simply can’t have it both ways when it comes to the nuclear waste issue. Right now he supports running hundreds of shipments of dangerous nuclear waste through Pennsylvania and sticking Nevadans with 77,000 tons of it forever, while at the same time saying he’s uncomfortable with it going through his own backyard for even a day.”

The Sierra Club also pointed out that the very nuclear plant that Senator McCain is visiting today once suffered a partial meltdown. Indeed, a book about the incident is entitled “We Almost Lost Detroit.”

John McCain supports the Bush administration’s plan to store our nation’s nuclear waste at the unsafe and unproven Yucca mountain site—a white elephant that has wasted two decades and billions of taxpayer dollars. A plan to transport the waste released by the State of Nevada based on Department of Energy plans details the likely rail, truck, and barge routes that high-level waste would take on its way to Yucca Mountain. Approximately 6,349 casks of waste would travel through Pennsylvania. Each cask would transport between 2 and 15 tons of high-level waste. In total, the dangerous waste would travel through more than 703 counties in 45 states. More than 123 million people live along the proposed truck routes alone. And more than 10 million people live within a half-mile of the proposed routes.

See link for Proposed Pennsylvania Routes:

“John McCain is asking both Pennsylvanians and Nevadans to gamble with our safety, yet it’s not even a bet he’s willing to take for Arizona,” said Hillary Bright, Sierra Club. “Just like with subsidies—he’s against them, except when it comes to nuclear power and so-called ‘clean coal’—John McCain wants to have his cake and eat it too on the nuclear waste issue. He’s all for moving thousands of tons highly radioactive waste through communities across the country, except when it comes to his home state of Arizona.”

In addition to being dangerous, John McCain’s nuclear plan is a costly distraction from the real solutions to global warming. Based on cost estimates for new nuclear power plants put forth by utilities like Florida Power and Light, McCain’s plan for 100 new nuclear plants could cost more than $1 TRILLION.

Over the years McCain has cast vote after vote in favor of Yucca Mountain and billions in subsidies for the nuclear industry, yet he has consistently voted against renewable energy and has refused to support extending key clean energy incentives that are in danger of expiring at the end of this year. While twice trying to extend these incentives in recent months, they failed by just a single vote. Every other Senator voted on these clean energy incentives, but McCain was nowhere to be found. Failing to extend these incentives could throw 116,000 people out of work in the wind and solar industries alone and sacrifice billions in lost economic growth.

Barack Obama, by contrast, opposes storing nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site. With regards to the role of nuclear power in general, Obama’s energy plan released yesterday states:

“Before an expansion of nuclear power is considered, key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation.”

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