Monday, January 15, 2007

Al Gore, Global Warming & Nuclear Power

Oh yes. He is running. The tour, book, film and the coming Oscar are not just to fight global warming. We all know that Vice President Gore is a calculating individual. Most times too calculating. We give him props on his global warming work since he left office. We must acknowledge that he and his boss' administration did nothing to promote climate change mitigation during their 8 years in office. So where does he stand?

Here is what he said in Grist magazine, "I doubt nuclear power will play a much larger role than it does now. There are serious problems that have to be solved, and they are not limited to the long-term waste-storage issue and the vulnerability-to-terrorist-attack issue. For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program. And if we ever got to the point where we wanted to use nuclear reactors to back out a lot of coal -- which is the real issue: coal -- then we'd have to put them in so many places we'd run that proliferation risk right off the reasonability scale. And we'd run short of uranium, unless they went to a breeder cycle or something like it, which would increase the risk of weapons-grade material being available.

Utility executives naturally want to place their bets for future generating capacity on smaller increments that are available more quickly, to give themselves flexibility. Nuclear reactors are the biggest increments, that cost the most money, and take the most time to build. In any case, if they can design a new generation [of reactors] that's manifestly safer, more flexible, etc., it may play some role, but I don't think it will play a big role."

Of course, there were some signs of support for nuclear power during the Clinton administration: (From the e-Newsletter CounterPunch: "Another reason is that the nuclear lobby has enjoyed a long and profitable relationship with both Clinton and Gore. Al Gore, who wrote of the potential green virtues of nuclear power in his book Earth in the Balance, earned his stripes as a congressman protecting the interests of two of the nuclear industry's more problematic enterprises, the TVA and the Oak Ridge Labs."

But before you get too excited, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) published a quote from a Gore letter, "I do not support any increased reliance on nuclear energy. Moreover I have disagreed with those who would classify nuclear energy as clean or renewable."

So by his statements we put Gore in the antinuclear category. But true to his very calculating nature, he does hedge his bets. He and Clinton did nothing to hurt nuclear during their 8 years. They also did nothing to help (on nuclear & global warming). That is a good indication of how a President Gore would operate.

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