Ignoring support for waste storage at Yucca, NY Sun said McCain's position on international nuclear waste storage "could win him votes in Nevada"

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

New York Sun reporter Eli Lake wrote that in a May 27 speech on nuclear safety, Sen. John McCain said "he favored the creation of an international repository where all spent nuclear fuel could eventually be sent," which Lake described as a "position that could win him votes in Nevada." However, Lake did not note that McCain has previously supported storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

In a May 28 New York Sun article, staff reporter Eli Lake wrote that in a May 27 speech on nuclear safety, Sen. John McCain said "he favored the creation of an international repository where all spent nuclear fuel could eventually be sent." Lake added, "Taking a position that could win him votes in Nevada, he said: 'It is even possible that such an international center could make it unnecessary to open the proposed spent nuclear fuel storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.' " However, while writing that McCain's position "could win him votes in Nevada," Lake did not note that McCain has previously supported storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. As recently as May 6, McCain senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin asserted to Reuters in an interview that "[t]he political opposition to the Yucca Mountain storage facility is harmful to the U.S. interest and the facility should be completed, opened and utilized."

By contrast to Lake's New York Sun report, Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston noted McCain's comments about an international repository in a May 28 column headlined "McCain's about-face on Yucca," and asserted: "McCain's proposal would seem more sincere if only he hadn't been so sincerely committed to the dump -- and been so unabashed and frank about his support. But on the eve of his trip to Reno and on the eve of a general election in which Nevada could well be critical, the Straight Talk Express took a detour from its planned stop at Yucca Mountain. McCain is an enthusiastic supporter of nuclear power and a fervent backer of Yucca Mountain as a suitable storage site. The evidence is plentiful." From Ralston's May 28 column:

In 2002, when final approval was assured after 20 years of debate, McCain told his home-state newspaper, The Arizona Republic, that the Nevada dump site would help the federal government resolve "one of the most important environmental, health and public safety issues for the American people."

Just over a year ago, he was described as adopting a mocking tone when he told the Deseret News in Utah: "Oh, you have to travel through states ... I am for Yucca Mountain. I'm for storage facilities. It's a lot better than sitting outside power plants all over America."

Less than three weeks ago, Reuters ran a piece that said McCain "supports the Yucca Mountain storage facility and believes opposition to it is harmful to U.S. interests." And the piece quoted one of his advisers as saying, "The political opposition to the Yucca Mountain storage facility is harmful to the U.S. interest and the facility should be completed, opened and utilized."

Also, in a May 27 post titled "McCain retooling his Yucca Mountain stance" on her Inside Nevada Politics blog, Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Anjeanette Damon noted McCain's international repository remarks on the "eve" of his visit to Nevada, and wrote that "McCain has been unapologetically supportive of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository" and that the "international repository line is new for McCain."

In a May 28 campaign appearance in Nevada, McCain was asked about storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and replied: "I support Yucca Mountain once it goes through all of the processes it needs to go through. I also support reprocessing. A little straight talk, we're going to have to do both. I do hope we can find this international repository."

From the May 28 New York Sun article:

Mr. McCain said that, as president, he would consider changes to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a pact he opposed in 1999, that would make the Senate more likely to support it. He also said he would seek unilaterally to reduce America's nuclear arsenal, including the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, a program opposed by Congress but supported by the Bush administration.

The Arizona lawmaker also said he favored the creation of an international repository where all spent nuclear fuel could eventually be sent. Taking a position that could win him votes in Nevada, he said: "It is even possible that such an international center could make it unnecessary to open the proposed spent nuclear fuel storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada."

Mr. McCain also took a shot at his likely rival in the election, Mr. [Sen. Barack] Obama. "Today, some people seem to think they've discovered a brand new cause, something no one before them ever thought of," he said. "Many believe all we need to do to end the nuclear programs of hostile governments is have our president talk with leaders in Pyongyang and Tehran, as if we haven't tried talking to these governments repeatedly over the past two decades."

Posted In
Environment & Science, Energy
Network/Outlet
The New York Sun
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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