Today Senator John McCain is scheduled to stop at the Enrico Fermi 2 nuclear power plant near Monroe, Michigan. He has been a big cheerleader for greatly expanding nuclear power all across the nation. As he has made this a major piece of his energy policy he has also frequently insisted that nuclear power is completely safe. In trying to make this case, it seems strange that McCain will take a tour of a reactor that sits right next to one that suffered a meltdown and was promptly shut down. It will be interesting to hear McCain’s comments about how safe nuclear energy is while standing in such close proximity to a big reminder of its real dangers.
McCain has often commented on the U.S. Navy sailing ships around the world using nuclear power and how they have never had an accident. Actually, the U.S. Navy reported a leak in one of its nuclear-powered submarines just last week. That recent incident created quite a set of problems with our friends in Japan, where some of the leaking likely happened. That still didn’t stop the Arizona senator from using the same line in his stump speech in Racine last week.
By promoting a massive increase in nuclear power, it is also incumbent on McCain to explain how all of the nuclear waste that his plan will generate will be transported and warehoused safely. Even though he is now touting how safe his nuclear plan would be, earlier in the year he admitted that he was not comfortable with waste being transported through his own home state of Arizona. So does this mean that John McCain is perfectly fine with shipping nuclear waste through every other person’s backyard except his own? If he is so confident about its safe transport now, why wasn’t he earlier this year? What has changed besides him being in the midst of a presidential campaign?
John McCain’s claims should not go unchallenged and he should be asked the tough questions that he has recently avoided. McCain has opted for convenient political talking points on the stump but has had a total meltdown when it comes to addressing the difficult realities involved with his nuclear plan.