John McCain’s plan to build 45 new reactors by 2030 demonstrates more about his connections to nuclear industry lobbyists than to any real concern about addressing climate change.
The experts at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) have pointed out that nuclear power provides far less climate protection per dollar than any of its competitors. RMI notes that “spending a dollar on new nuclear energy instead of energy efficiency has a worse net effect on the climate than spending a dollar on coal-fired electricity instead of on nuclear electricity!”
Moreover, because nuclear power is so expensive, only massive taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies would enable the construction of new atomic reactors. Such investment would divert the resources from those solutions that really work. Renewable energy, energy efficiency, cogeneration, smart grids, and distributed generation are the clean, affordable means to reduce carbon emissions and meet our energy needs—not nuclear power.
Clean energy sources don’t produce lethal radioactive waste, don’t require massive security, don’t make residents live in fear of a meltdown, and don’t enable the spread of nuclear weapons. The choice is easy. But Senator McCain has made the wrong one.