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McCain Touts 'Clean' Coal and Nuclear Power

By Perry Bacon Jr.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Continuing his emphasis on energy issues, Sen. John McCain touted strongly the use of so-called clean coal technology and nuclear power.

"If we're looking for a vast supply of reliable and low-cost electricity, with zero carbon emissions and long-term price stability-that's the working definition of nuclear energy," McCain said at an energy panel at Missouri State University.

He proposed the creation of 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030, a huge increase since there are only 104 reactors in the country today.

His Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, has been more cautious on the value of nuclear power than McCain, expressing concern about its safety and how to handle its waste.

"It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table," reads a statement about nuclear power on Obama's website. "However, there is no future for expanded nuclear without first addressing four key issues: public right-to-know, security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation."

Both Obama and McCain are touting their proposals to increase the use of alternative fuels, both to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and reduce the effects of global warming, while at the same time proposing ways to help Americans pay for gas prices now. But differences have emerged this week on their approaches. Obama aides are sharply attacking McCain for his embrace of off-shore drilling, which he had previously opposed, while McCain today again touted his proposal to suspend the federal gas tax, which Obama has ridiculed.

McCain in both his speech and in response to question defended his off-shore drilling stance, saying "that would still be a decision made by those states, but I certainly encourage them do so."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 18, 2008; 6:27 PM ET
Categories:  On the Issues  
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