Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama Hearts Charlie Crist

President-Elect Barack Obama praised Gov. Charlie Crist Obama's remarks were aimed at green governors and given at the Governors' Global Climate Summit.

"In particular, I want to commend Gov. Sebelius, Gov. Doyle, Gov. Crist, Gov. Blagojevich and your host, Gov. Schwarzenegger – all of you have shown true leadership in the fight to combat global warming. And we’ve also seen a number of businesses doing their part by investing in clean energy technologies. But too often, Washington has failed to show the same kind of leadership. That will change when I take office."

Crist failed to go to Washington to lobby for the global warming bill. Crist was in Arizona lobbying to be John McCain's VP. Crist idea of green energy is nuclear power. A problem with nuclear power is construction, maintenance and removal of waste is more expensive than convention power plants.

Regulatory hurdles and public opposition to nuclear plants following the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979 are often cited for the freeze in new plants. Yet what almost everyone cites as the main obstacle now is cost: Nuclear power is just plain expensive.

It costs between $6 billion to $8 billion to build a new nuclear reactor, according to Steve Kerekes, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute. That's about four times the cost of building a new similar-sized coal plant.

If McCain wants 45 new plants, he'll have to provide the utility industry with some incentives to take on this huge up front expense.

These could come in the form of low-interest loans, laws restricting greenhouse gases (which would make coal more expensive) or the construction of a long-promised facility to handle the waste.

"The cost of building them is immense," said Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist at ARC Financial, a Calgary-based private equity firm. "The commitment has got to be long term."

The American people will pay an estimated 11 billion to rid waste from 100 reactors. Where the waste goes should give Crist pause.

Millions of gallons of hazardous waste resulting from the nations nuclear weapons program lie in a remote location in southeastern Washington state called Hanford. Beneath this desert landscape about two million curies of radioactivity and hundreds of thousands of tons of chemicals are captured within the stratified vadose zone below which gives rise to complex subsurface flow paths. These paths create uncertainties about where the contaminants go and what happens to them. With the mighty Columbia River bordering much of the site, where these nuclear wastes migrate, their composition and how fast they are traveling are of vital importance to both people and the environment.

Crist's retroactive energy policy is radioactive.

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