from the NEW MEXICO NEWS CONNECTION - A statewide news service for New Mexico
Albuquerque - Conservation groups in New Mexico say voters should carefully scrutinize what the candidates are saying about their plans for nuclear power... and nuclear waste. Conservation groups in New Mexico are listening closely to what the presidential candidates are saying about their plans for nuclear waste. The candidates have been trading barbs recently over those plans - with McCain recently appearing to mock Obama's call for additional safeguards for new nuclear plants. Shrayas Jatkar with the Sierra Club in Albuquerque says New Mexicans should pay attention, because plenty of waste from the nuclear industry can be found right here, "If the government is going to be supporting the nuclear industry, then they ought to be cleaning up the mess that they've created over decades of past uranium milling and mining."
Jatkar says weapons production at Los Alamos Labs has left significant amounts of nuclear waste sitting around indefinitely, waiting for a disposal plan. Both candidates have said they support expanding nuclear power as part of a comprehensive energy plan. Unlike McCain, Obama has said that the problems of waste disposal and safe operations must be solved before more nuclear reactors are built. Jatkar points out that one thing the candidates haven't been talking about is the roughly ten billion dollar price tag that comes with each new nuclear power plant, "Just given the financial situation that we're in, we ought to focus on cleaner energy alternatives that are safer, more secure and certainly more affordable."