Given the tenor of our Deep Borehole discussions, I imagine Hillary Clinton is giving most of my liberal commenters heartburn with her stance in favor of nuclear energy. Here’s the Democratic nominee’s response to Scientific American‘s questionnaire on science, engineering, technology, health, and environmental issues:
Meeting the climate challenge is too important to limit the tools available in this fight. Nuclear power—which accounts for more than 60 percent of our zero carbon power generation today—is one of those tools. I will work to ensure that the climate benefits of our existing nuclear power plants that are safe to operate are appropriately valued and increase investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear power. At the same time, we must continue to invest in the security of our nuclear materials at home, and improve coordination between federal, state, and local authorities. We must also seek to reduce the amount of nuclear material worldwide—working with other countries so minimize the use of weapons-grade material for civil nuclear programs [Hillary Clinton, in Christine Gorman, “What Do the Presidential Candidates Know about Science?” Scientific American, 2016.09.13].
South Dakota voters seeking a non-nuclear alternative are out of luck. The Republican nominee rambles vaguely about wanting more nuclear power:
Nuclear power is a valuable source of energy and should be part of an all-the-above program for providing power for America long into the future. We can make nuclear power safer, and its outputs are extraordinary given the investment we should make. Nuclear power must be an integral part of energy independence for America [Donald Trump, in Gorman, 2016.09.13].
The Johnson Weld administration supports nuclear power precisely because it produces energy without greenhouse gases. Other nations have used nuclear power safely for generations. However, we recognize that a failure or security breach at a nuclear facility can have catastrophic results.
The Johnson Weld administration would maintain strict nuclear safety standards, but also investigate newer and safer lower yield reactors like breeder reactors or thorium reactors, which produce less or even reduce nuclear waste. The challenge of nuclear waste storage is, of course, a serious one. However, we believe solutions exist, and can be implemented, if decisions can be based on science and honest risk assessment, rather than the politics of pitting one state or community against another [Johnson/Weld campaign, SciDebate.org, downloaded 2016.09.22].
South Dakotans only other Presidential option, Constitutionist Darrell Castle, says nothing about nuclear power on his website, and nobody in the media seems to care.
Green nominee Jill Stein says nuclear fission is “unsafe, expensive, and dirty,” calls for phasing out nuclear energy in ten years, and storing all nuclear waste exactly where it is, with no transport of nuclear waste anywhere, ever. But Stein didn’t make our ballot, so her stance on nuclear power is moot when we start voting tomorrow.