The president's pants were smoldering during his State of the Union address. One fib in particular that he offered was deviously cloaked beneath a thin veneer of truth. In order to create clean energy jobs, Mr. Obama said that America needs to be "...building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country."
In an apparent move to make good on his promise, two days after the address, Bloomberg reported: "President Barack Obama, acting on a pledge to support nuclear power, will propose tripling guarantees for new reactors to more than $45 billion ..."
Received as a standalone promise, it's a pretty sweet proposition. Nuclear power plants are safe, clean, reliable sources of inexpensive energy, and building such facilities will provide thousands of permanent jobs. Offering utilities a cheap source of financing to afford construction costs makes the deal appear even sweeter. However, once again, half-white man speaks with forked tongue.
Nuclear power is a clean, green, carbon-free source of electricity. However, it's also an energy source that is completely opposed by Obama and environmentalists at large. The primary scare tactics this crew employs are Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. While the 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine nuclear plant explosion was a horrendous, deadly disaster created by incompetent communist bureaucrats in the former Soviet Union, the 1979 Three Mile Island breakdown has been cooked up to look like a calamity. Although Three Mile Island did suffer a severe core meltdown (the most dangerous kind of nuclear power accident), only minor off-site releases of radioactivity were experienced, and there were no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of the nearby community. By design, the plant essentially shut down perfectly.
Nevertheless, the anti-nuke kooks permanently milk the accident at Three Mile Island to stir the pot of public fear and distrust. As a result, since 1979, ground has not been broken for a new, non-military nuclear facility in the United States -- though several existing plants have withstood a multitude of lawsuits and protests and have been completed or expanded since '79.
As it stands, there are 104 nuclear reactors supplying 20% of America's electricity. If it weren't for the ninny protesters, and if we had been allowed to continue building out our nuclear infrastructure at the pace proposed in the 1960s and '70s, we would now be more like France: Nearly 80% of their electricity is generated by nukes.
While the first argument against nuclear power is public safety, the second polemic is nuclear waste -- and Obama has used both as convenient fear bombs. During the presidential primaries, when he was still being refined and navigating his way through dealings with the national press, Obama recklessly spilled the contents of his heart, telling the editorial board of New Hampshire's Keene Sentinel, "I don't think there is anything we inevitably dislike about nuclear power. We just dislike the fact that it might blow up and irradiate us and kill us! That's the problem."
The fawning media hacks listening to Obama's chuckled.
Currently, all the nuclear waste created by all of America's nuclear plants since the 1960s is stored in 126 different sites scattered about the nation. The primary waste material from a nuclear facility is spent uranium. If you were to add up the amount of spent uranium from all 126 plants since each one first went into operation, it would total 57,000 tons. Determining it would be best to safeguard these nuclear byproducts in one central location, in 1978, the U.S. Department of Energy began planning for a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, about one hundred miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Have you ever driven through Nevada? I have -- I used to live there. Nevada is a huge state with topography resembling the rugged, barren terrain of Afghanistan. Apart from the handful of population centers that are home to its just over two million wonderful residents, Nevada is a dry, dusty, tumbleweed-ridden no-man's land. I am convinced that God made Nevada in part to house nuclear waste. And though it sounds gigantic, 57,000 tons of spent uranium does not require an expansive storage area. Uranium is extremely dense -- a gallon of milk weighs eight pounds, while a similar size chunk of uranium weighs 150 pounds. That means that thirteen gallon-jugs of uranium would equal a ton. Do the math and you have roughly 760,000 jugs-o'-uranium, all which could neatly fit within the confines of your average high school basketball gym.
While candidate Obama made it crystal clear that he was against nuclear power for fear of death by radiation, many forget that once president, his first proposed budget cutoff money for the proposed Nevada nuclear waste repository -- meaning that the $10 billion in taxpayer money spent since 1983 to ready Yucca for storing spent nuclear waste -- was totally wasted.
Following the State of the Union, in a conference call with reporters on the same day the nuclear financing plan was unveiled, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the creation of a special panel to find a solution for storing nuclear waste.
Problem is, we had a solution -- Yucca Mountain. But it's on the president's no-fund list.
My word to President Obama is that he makes sure Secretary Chu selects members to the special nuclear waste panel that are personally able to remove all political biases, including any towards Yucca Mountain, lest his nuclear comments during the State of the Union be proven to be business as usual from a leftist politician with his pants on fire (politically speaking, of course).
Brian Sussman is an award-winning television meteorologist-turned-successful radio talk show host on KSFO-AM in San Francisco. His book, Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam, will be released March 31st.