Republican presidential candidate John McCain, at a campaign event Wednesday in Missouri, called for 45 new nuclear reactors to be built in the United States by 2030, with a longer-term goal of 100 new reactors. Existing nuke plants currently provide some 20 percent of U.S. electricity, but no new nuke plants have been built in the U.S. since the 1970s due to the enormous costs of nuclear-plant construction, and public squeamishness over radiation and waste concerns. In his remarks, McCain argued that the major obstacles to expanding the use of nuclear power are political, and that the power source has suffered because of the “mindset of those who prefer to buy time and hope that our energy problems will somehow solve themselves. … 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 also talked up clean coal technology at the event and pledged $2 billion a year in federal spending to “make clean coal a reality.”
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