We Dont Need Yucca Mountain
By William Warren
In yet another knee-jerk move pandering to the enviro-lobby, President Barack Obama's new Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that Yucca Mountain, the nuclear-waste-storage site in the Nevada desert, was closing down for good.
And to that, we say “fine.”
The taxpayer-funded site is not even needed to begin with. As ALG News has discussed, Nuclear waste is entirely recyclable and doesn't need to be locked away in a remote mountain facility. Despite all the fears, spent nuclear material can be reprocessed and reused with a striking degree of ease and effectiveness. Not only is it a clear solution to the nation's energy crisis, but it has also been around for decades.
Unfortunately, recycling nuclear waste is downright illegal—and has been for 30 years.
With America's grave energy concerns mounting by the day, the country desperately needs nuclear energy—and nuclear waste reprocessing—now more than ever. Writing in the New York Post, Josh Gilder articulates this urgent need for nuclear energy:
“Energy Secretary Chu - a Nobel Prize winner and former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab - must know that Yucca is safe. What he may not understand is that his success or failure as energy secretary will be largely determined by his ability to find adequate energy sources for our economy's future growth - and he just appears to have cut off his one viable option…
And, though we hear endlessly about "alternative" or "green" energy, its boosters never mention that, despite massive subsidies, solar and wind today provide about one half of 1 percent of our nation's energy consumption. You could cover the nation over with windmills and solar panels (and then listen to the enviros scream about the destruction of habitat that entails) and still barely make a dent in our energy needs…
Where are we going to get the power, all from biofuels? Every plausible national energy policy includes building many more nuclear plants.”
Tragically enough, Barack Obama has continued in the liberal, Big Government trend and demonstrated a clear hostility towards all things nuclear.
One would image that given Mr. Obama's Euro-fetish (as in “I am a citizen of the world.”), the energy policies of his administration would surely echo those of France. For once, however, this unfortunately is not the case.
As ALG News has pointed out, the nation of France is almost entirely nuclear powered. With a whopping 59 reactors located at 20 sites, 88 percent of the nation's electricity is safely provided by this “dangerous” source. And France is not alone. Great Britain, India, Japan, and Russia all likewise have thriving nuclear industries.
Regardless, Barack Obama and his administration have stood defiantly against nuclear energy. He is after all, simply following in the footsteps of Jimmy Carter—a president to whom Obama has been increasingly likened with regards to all sorts of policy ambitions beyond that of energy.
When considering just why the United States crippled itself with regards to Nuclear energy, one needs to jump back thirty years to days of Mr. Carter—one of the darker eras in American foreign and domestic policy. As William Tucker in the Wall Street Journal communicates:
“The supposed problem of ‘nuclear waste' is entirely the result of a decision in 1976 by President Gerald Ford to suspend reprocessing, which President Jimmy Carter made permanent in 1977. The fear was that agents of foreign powers or terrorists groups would steal plutonium from American plants to manufacture bombs.
That fear has proved to be misguided. If foreign powers want a bomb, they will build their own reactors or enrichment facilities, as North Korea and Iran have done. The task of extracting plutonium from highly radioactive material and fashioning it into a bomb is far beyond the capacities of any terrorist organization.”
Clearly it is fear that has prompted our leaders to deny the nation nuclear power for over 30 years. Whether it was chimerical fear of Three Mile Island, fear of sci-fi-like doomsday scenarios, or fears over nuclear proliferation, America's leaders decided the nuclear path was too dangerous to tread.
As Mr. Tucker explained, however, such fears are unfounded in the 21st century. Even America's own fleet has been nuclear powered for decades without an incident.
So as President Obama shuts down Yucca Mountain, it is crucial that Americans understand his real intentions. In and of itself, closing the Nevada nuclear waste storage facility is fine. We are O.K. with that.
However, refusing to allow America's energy industries to reprocess, recycle, and reuse the spent nuclear material is anything but fine. In fact, it is outright sinister.
The simple truth is that Barack Obama wants to eliminate nuclear power once and for all. And in doing so, he is putting the baseless demands of the enviro-lobby over the very real energy needs of the American people.
In a frantic search for an eco-friendly “renewable” energy, America's leaders have restricted access to the most reliable eco-friendly renewable source there is: nuclear energy. Apparently, Barack Obama would rather harness a breeze with a gangly windmill or heat up an inefficient solar panel, while splitting hairs over splitting atoms. For such a 21st century president, Mr. Obama's energy ambitions are lockstep with ancient Mesopotamia's.
All in all, this latest dilemma with Yucca Mountain and Barack Obama's Carter-esque hostility towards nuclear energy once again illustrates Big Government's complete inability to solve society's problems. More often than not, they exacerbate said problems.
And when it comes to energy, they even seem to relish the problems.
So go ahead, Mr. Obama. Shut down Yucca Mountain.
But understand that in further barring Americans from nuclear energy and the reprocessing of spent nuclear materials, you will only hasten America's looming energy apocalypse.
Burying Yucca Mountain is inconsequential. Burying the American people under baseless, fear-driven, enviro-pandering policies is despicable. And it will only exacerbate the problem of America sinking ever further under the growing mountain of energy-dependent foreign debt.
William Warren is a Contributing Editor of ALG News Bureau.