Muckraker: Grist on Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama released a new ad over the weekend in Nevada, targeting Republican rival John McCain’s support for dumping nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

“Imagine trucks hauling the nation’s nuclear waste on our highways to Yucca Mountain,” the ad says. “John McCain supports opening Yucca. He’s not worried about nuclear waste in our state — only in Arizona.”

The ad then replays video of a May 2007 interview with McCain in which he appears to say that he would not want nuclear waste trucked through his home state of Arizona. Grist has covered this particular video before, and if you watch the rest of his response, which the Obama ad cuts off, it’s clear that McCain seems to have either misheard or misunderstand the question (as he has with other questions on environmental issues). He goes on to say that he thinks the technology can be made safe, and that having waste in insecure locations around the country is dangerous.

“What people forget is the option of leaving this waste in areas outside, maybe unprotected, certainly not well protected, all over America, rather than having it in a safe and secure repository for it,” McCain continued. “I preferred not having the status quo. And, I think it is a national security issue.”

That’s not to say McCain’s support of nuclear is unproblematic. Despite the candidate’s love affair with nuclear power, he hasn’t addressed concerns about safety or the problem of where all this waste from those new reactors should go. And while McCain is an avid supporter of dumping at Yucca Mountain, most Nevadans oppose plans to deposit the waste in their state.

The Obama campaign clearly sees this issue as a winner in Nevada. Watch the ad: