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Let's Go Nuclear
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This weekend on Real Time, in answer to why he would be the best president on the environment, John Edwards answered something close to:

Because it is a crisis, and the American people need to understand it's a crisis. We need to make polluters pay, and use that money to invest in solar power, wind power, and cellulose bio-fuel. We need to reduce the number of coal-burning plants. And I'm totally against nuclear power.

It was that last part that got me. Yes, nuclear power has some very bad drawbacks, most notably what to do with nuclear waste. And there have been dramatic accidents in the past at some nuclear reactors.

But right now it is our best bet for a decent level of energy independence. It's getting more and more efficient each year, and uranium is reasonably plentiful.

According to PBS Frontline, France gets 76% of its electricity from nuclear power (and we always want to be like the French, no?). In contrast, we get less than 20% of ours from nuclear power.

I'm sorry, but I've been hearing about solar and wind power since I was in grade school. We shouldn't stop research on those energy sources, but they are inherently erratic and inefficient and are useful as supplemental sources, but will mostly likely never be primary energy sources.

We need to be realistic and weigh the various pros and cons. It seems to me that transitioning from relying primarily on fossil fuels to nuclear power carries less risk in the medium term and yields better benefits.

Edwards wants to invest in speculative research with no clear returns, and keep right on burning fossil fuels in the meantime, meanwhile restricting their use and increasing regulation, which will hurt production and increase costs.

It's a good thing he doesn't have a chance in hell of winning the nomination.

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