Sen. John McCain has repeatedly called for building 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030, with the ultimate goal of 100 new plants. The plan would be extremely costly to taxpayers, presents significant risk for the economy and the public, and does little to solve America’s energy problems.
McCain’s radical expansion of nuclear power would have major consequences for America that his campaign has either not disclosed or not considered, even though nuclear power is constantly referenced as one of the centerpieces of the McCain energy policy.
- A $280 billion cost to taxpayers: Nuclear plants are enormously expensive. The cost of 45 reactors is likely to be at least $315 billion, while 100 reactors would cost at least $700 billion. Under Sen. McCain’s plan, taxpayers are estimated to be on the hook for $126 billion to $280 billion in failed nuclear loans.
- A job creation fantasy: New nuclear power plants would create, at best, one- fourth as many jobs as Sen. McCain claimed during the second presidential debate, costing taxpayers as much as $19 million for each job created.
- Fails to take advantage of cleaner, cheaper alternatives: Clean energy technologies such as energy-efficient products and wind and solar power can deliver more energy much sooner than building new nuclear power plants, and create more jobs at a lower cost to taxpayers—without the risks. John McCain has consistently failed to support those lower cost alternatives, and his costly nuclear plan would continue to keep better alternatives underfunded and at the back of the line.
It’s clear that Sen. McCain’s nuclear proposal would be an economic disaster. It would also risk environmental disaster by creating enough waste to fill a second Yucca Mountain-sized dump and dramatically increasing the amount of nuclear waste transported on our roads and rails. Finally, Sen. McCain’s plan would do nothing to deal with our current energy crisis because no new power would be generated until at least 2019.