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Obama's nuclear gamble
The president is offering $8 billion to build the first nuclear reactors in a generation. Is he right to re-think atom power?
 
Will Obama's nuclear power gamble pay off?
Will Obama's nuclear power gamble pay off?
Corbis/Judith Gosse

President Obama announced Tuesday that his administration would provide an $8.3 billion loan guarantee for two nuclear reactors planned in Georgia. The reactors will be the first built in the U.S. since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, and Obama said the fresh investment in nuclear energy is "a necessary step" toward reducing America's dependence on fossil fuels. But environmentalists remain skeptical about the safety of nuclear power and the problem of waste disposal. Will Obama's nuclear bet pay off? (Watch a report about Obama's nuclear power plan)

No. Obama will regret going nuclear: Obama's nuclear power strategy is "bound to fail," says Amy Goodman in Truthdig. Wind and solar are more cost-effective ways to fight global warming -- without the nuclear waste nightmare. The industry only needs government loan guarantees because banks won't touch these costly, dangerous monstrosities.
"Obama's nuclear option"

The president's making a smart wager: New reactors are far safer than those built before the industry went into "hibernation" 30 years ago, says The Business Insider. There's no danger of a Chernobyl-style meltdown. Only 20 percent of our power is nuclear -- compared to 85 percent in France -- we can't afford not to go nuclear.
"Obama just went nuclear, and so should you"

The power industry needs less regulation, not handouts: If Obama really wants to jumpstart nuclear power, say the editors of National Review, he'll simplify the "arduous" permitting process. Two reactors are a drop in the bucket -- Obama's economic plan calls for 100. So this loan guarantee amounts to "billions of dollars in green pork that will do little to meet America’s energy needs."
"Obama's nuclear winter?"

Obama deserves credit for taking the risk: With all the political and regulatory obstacles, says Samuel Thernstrom in The New York Times, there's a real risk of default on these loans. Still, Obama's making a worthwhile gamble. Nuclear power is "no silver bullet" for our energy problems, but it's "an essential part of the puzzle."
"The greatest danger is financial"

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SEE COVERAGE OF THE NUCLEAR DEBATE FROM THE WEEK:

Obama and nuclear disarmament
Iran's nuclear poker game
Is Iran really a 'nuclear state'?

 

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