Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain's Blah Blah Blah

Senator McCain is at it again! What is with his dismissive attitude about nuclear safety? During a recent rally in northern Iowa University he said, "You know, the other night in the debate with Senator Obama, I said his eloquence is admirable, but pay attention to his words. We talk about offshore drilling and he said he would quote, consider, offshore drilling. We talked about nuclear power, well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah." During the second debate McCain dismissively stated that Obama's opinion on nuclear power was that it has to be "safe or disposable or something like that." All his feelings about Senator Obama or his proposed approach to nuclear power aside, his repeated dismissal of concerns about nuclear power scare me.

It is an indisputable fact that while nuclear power is an important and valuable option to explore in the search for energy independence, the safety of nuclear power is a real concern. Between 1952 and 2006 there have been 23 accidents at nuclear power plants which have caused substantial health damage, property damage or contamination. All of these incidents were related directly to radioactive material. None resulted from military use of nuclear material for defense purposes. These accidents are not all ancient history. Since 2000 there have been four such accidents. Increased safety measures appear to have resulted in a decrease in deaths and/or injuries, however as recently as 1999, workers have been exposed to radiation in excess of allowable limits.

One of the most well-known nuclear power plant accidents occurred in 1986 at the Chernobyl plant in the Ukrainian SSR. When reactor number four exploded, over 336,000 people had to be evacuated from heavily contaminated areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Fifty-six people died as a direct result of the explosion. Four thousand deaths from cancer are estimated to have been the indirect result of this accident. Today, over 20 years later, a 19-mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl power plant still remains evacuated.

McCain's mocking attitude in the face of Obama's concerns about nuclear safety are callous, dismissive, and strike me as staggering display of ignorance of the facts. McCain says nuclear energy is a necessary part of any equation to bring our country to energy independence, and I agree with him. But if he intends to approach the matter with this cavalier attitude, I prefer he'd keep his focus on his campaign's favored chant of "drill baby drill".


Anonymous said...

Keep listening to Maddow, voice of reason and sanity.

I For One..... said...

I cracked up watching last night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Their new term for John McCain's dismissive little air quotes is "dick fingers."

Anonymous said...

Watched both Stewart and Colbert last night. Very funny guys. Loved Rachael's football explanation.