By James Conca
With very serious issues like health care, gun control, Russian tampering, and prison reform, it’s unlikely that a narrow issue like a candidate’s stance on nuclear power will sway anyone about voting for them.
However, since all the leading climate scientists say we cannot address climate change without significant nuclear power, supporting nuclear power – or not – is a clear signal about how serious a candidate is about climate change and how serious they are about supporting science over mere activism.
Many candidates are clearly OK with using nuclear power for addressing climate change. Some clearly are not. Six of the remaining democratic candidates to make the debate stage support nuclear in some way, one does not, and one is unclear.
Of the Republican candidates, President Donald Trump doesn’t seem to care and former Governor of MA William Weld looks more like a Democrat on the climate but likes nuclear, a relict of his previously being a Libertarian. Former U.S. Congressman from IL Joe Walsh believes climate change is real and impacted by human activities, and appears fine with nuclear. Mark Sanford has yet to enter the race.
All of the candidates, except Trump, want to rejoin the Paris Agreement and want to price carbon in some way. While most candidates are for keeping existing nuclear open to take advantage of their carbon-free energy, many keep saying new nuclear needs to be safer and have the waste issue resolved, even though nuclear is the safest form of energy we have, and spent fuel doesn’t pose any serious risk.
And we know what to do with the waste, we just can’t do anything for political reasons.
Sanders is rabidly anti-nuclear and would phase out existing plants already re-licensed as safe for the next 20 years by the NRC. He doesn’t even like the new small modular reactors that can’t melt down and that have solved
By James Conca