When Al Gore lied to Congress last spring (2007) about nuclear power
(by not denouncing it as a solution to Global Warming), Larry E.
Craig (R-ID) made a speech in support of nuclear power so that the
supposedly left-leaning former Vice President Al Gore didn't have to.
Here's an excerpt from my report on the hearings, from March 30th, 2007:
[Al Gore] agreed with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) who said Three Mile
Island proved we're "GOOD" (because it didn't completely melt down
and destroy Pennsylvania).
[Gore] laments that nuclear power plants "only come in large." He looks
forward to the next generation of nuclear power plants, which (he
feels) will solve all the problems of the previous three generations.
[Gore is] "less sure than he once was" about the usefulness of nuclear
power. "So I think it will play a small role in some areas, I don't
think it will be a big part" he says again.
"The waste problem may be solved" Gore reiterates hopefully. Senator
Larry Craig (R-ID) admits "Yeah, we still have problems ... waste
management..." He did not identify any other problems. Chairperson
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) told Al Gore: "I'll give you 60 seconds
to respond to that speech about nuclear energy [by Senator Larry Craig]."
Gore used his minute to reiterate that he DIDN'T say nuclear power
"wasn't a factor" in his proposed solution to the problem of global warming.
A few months earlier, in December 2006, Senator Craig, who was on the
Senate's Energy Committee, had this to say about Senator Harry Reid's
distaste for having the entire country's nuclear waste deposited at
Yucca Mountain in his home state of Nevada:
"Harry in his wildest dreams wishes it would go away, but it is not
going to go away,"
High on Craig's "to do" list at the time was INCREASING the allowable
capacity of Yucca Mountain (since it won't be big enough to do its
intended job anyway), and in a January 2007 op-ed in a Boise, Idaho
paper, he attacked attempts to limit greenhouse gases as "California dreamin'."
Craig's always been a strong supporter of nuclear power. In 1999,
for instance, he backed the "Mobile Chernobyl" bill (HR-45), along
with two other Senate "atomic industry gophers" (as Michael Marriot
and Mary Olson of NIRS rightly called them) Frank Murkowski (R-AK)
and Pete Domenici (R-NM). That same year, Craig wanted to weaken the
1872 Mining Law with a rider attached to a Senate Interior
Appropriations bill (S1292) to make it easier to dump toxic waste
onto public lands.
He thinks the world is his toilet and the toilet is his world. Also
in 1999 he was pushing hard for Yucca Mountain:
"The biggest problem is what to do with the waste and in this country
it's a political problem," Craig said. "It's not a scientific
problem. It's not an engineering problem. It's purely political --
'Not In My Back Yard.' "
His statement is utter fiction. Nuclear power's other problems
include: Incredibly high start-up and running costs; Falsification
of data on the danger of small amounts of radiation (especially to
children, infants, and fetuses); Nuclear proliferation though the
extraction of plutonium, tritium, and other components of nuclear
bombs from the atomic waste stream; Terrorism threats; Extremely
low efficiency; Clean alternatives exist; Hundreds of billions of
dollars in past government subsidies with hundreds of billions more
to come; etc. etc. etc.. But Senator Craig never notices THESE problems!
In 2000, Craig was at it again, pushing for weaker suitability
standards for Yucca Mountain. His cohort, Frank Murkowski, bluntly
stated: "What we want is to make sure that the measuring is under a
regulation that allows waste to go to Yucca." These two wanted
expedience, not science, to be used to set the limits on pollution
from the site!
But high-level nuclear waste is hardly the only problem created by
nuclear power. A typical reactor produces about 3,000 55-gallon
drums of so-called "low-level" radioactive waste EACH YEAR. This
waste, too, has no safe place to go.
In 2001, and again in 2003, Craig was instrumental in securing
billions of dollars in nuclear research funding for INEEL (now called
INL, after being called INEL for a while) which, not coincidentally,
is located in his home state of Idaho. And which also is the
recipient of a $20+ BILLION dollar Superfund Cleanup -- because it
needs it. Well, so do a lot of other nuclear waste sites, which are
languishing (and leaking).
INL and the Argonne National Laboratory West (near Idaho Falls) are
the country's designated design centers for next-generation nuclear
power plants. The only problem is, the INTRACTABLE issues with
nuclear power CANNOT be solved by redesigning the plants
themselves. No design, for example, can survive a nuclear bomb
attack, or a major earthquake, or human stupidity, or poor
construction, and there is no solution to the problem of nuclear
waste because science can't do the impossible -- and storing nuclear
waste safely IS impossible.
When Senator Harry Reid pointed out that a fire in a tunnel in
Baltimore in 2001 showed the dangers of trying to transport 77,000
tons of high-level nuclear waste across the country, a spokesperson
for Craig's office stated that Reid's comments were: "a misguided and
misinformed effort to connect something that should not be connected.
The fact of the matter is, if that train had been carrying nuclear
components, it would have been protected in containers that would
have prevented this sort of a spill."
There was no truth to the spokesperson's comments. None
whatsoever. The conditions in the tunnel fire exceeded ALL proposed
standards for nuclear shipping containers.
Thank goodness Criminal Senator Larry E. Craig will not be a Senator
much longer, having resigned in disgrace yesterday, effective
September 30th. And not a moment too soon!