McCain’s ‘Lexington Project’ Calls for 45 New Nuclear Plants

Posted October 15, 2008 at 3:28pm

In the second presidential debate last week, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made sure viewers knew he wants to expand domestic energy production.

“Drilling offshore and nuclear power are two vital elements of” energy independence, he said. “And I’ve been supporting those and I know how to fix this economy, and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, and stop sending $700 billion a year overseas.”

When he unveiled his comprehensive energy plan in June, McCain called it the “Lexington Project,” asserting that America will boldly declare its independence from foreign sources of energy as it declared its independence from Great Britain in the Battle of Lexington in 1774.

Included is a proposal to build “45 new nuclear power plants by 2030 with the ultimate goal of eventually constructing 100 new plants.” McCain cites France as an example of how nuclear power can be used safely and effectively.

While both candidates say they would like to expand the use of nuclear power, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) wants to move more slowly. The two hold opposing positions on the nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain: McCain supports keeping nuclear waste there while Obama opposes it.

In addition to building more nuclear plants, McCain would push for more exploratory drilling.

“I will authorize and support new exploration and production of America’s own oil and gas reserves because we cannot outsource the solution to America’s energy problem,” McCain said when he unveiled the Lexington Project in June.

That includes the Outer Continental Shelf, which lines both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. President Bush ended the executive moratorium on drilling in the shelf in July, and the Democratic Congress allowed the legislative ban to expire on Sept. 30.

McCain does not support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a sticking point with his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is an avid supporter.

Early in August, before she was named as McCain’s running mate, Palin caused a similar stir when she announced her support for parts of Obama’s energy plan. The press release followed a speech in which Obama said he wants to finish Alaska’s natural gas pipeline.

“I am pleased to see Sen. Obama acknowledge the huge potential in Alaska’s natural gas reserves represent in terms of clean energy and sound jobs,” Palin said in the release. “The steps taken by the Alaska state Legislature this past week demonstrate that we are ready, willing and able to supply the energy our nation needs.”