Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Questionable timing

The National Review has obtained a draft copy of the Republican Party's 2008 Platform language on energy and climate change that repeats the same talking points that you've probably heard aplenty over the last few months. For instance -- and to no real surprise -- it hails that paragon of free-market virtue (and recipient, by some estimates, of more than $145 billion in subsidies over the last 50 years), nuclear energy, as the answer to all of the U.S.'s energy and environmental concerns. But what I found interesting -- if a bit ill-timed -- was this:
Nuclear energy — a gift to mankind implanted in matter itself — is the most reliable zero-carbon emissions source of energy that we have. Unwarranted fearmongering that has no relationship to current technologies and safeguards has prevented us from starting construction of a single nuclear power plant in 31 years. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has for decades relied upon nuclear vessels, while other advanced nations have harnessed nuclear power to provide a major portion of their energy consumption. There is no reason why the United States cannot do the same. Confident in the promise offered by science and technology, Republicans will pursue dramatic increases in the use of safe, affordable, reliable — and clean — nuclear power.
So why do I say ill-timed? Because on August 7th, newspapers across the country ran variations of the following story:
Navy says sub leaked radiation since 2006

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. Navy submarine leaked trace amounts of radioactive water for two years as it made port calls in Japan and other Asian nations, the Navy said Thursday.

Last week, Navy officials told Japan that the USS Houston, a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, had made one port call -- in March -- while leaking the contaminated fluid.

But after reviewing records of the sub, the Navy told Japanese officials Thursday that the Houston had been leaking much longer, since June 2006, and had made port calls to Japanese bases at Sasebo, Yokosuka and Okinawa before the leak was discovered.

Officials also have told the governments of Malaysia and Singapore that the sub made port calls to those countries while leaking the radioactive water, Navy officials said. The Houston also made stops in Guam and Hawaii.
Granted, this was no Chernobyl, but would it have killed the platform writers to cite a different example -- or is it still too early for Republicans to say anything nice about France?

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