Al Gore is a master of dishonesty. Karl Rove should pay attention, since he may want to tell big lies to Congress soon, too.
In two and a half hours of testimony before a near-idolizing Senate hearing, Al Gore said very little. He profusely thanked Republicans and Democrats alike, and answered every question in the same condescending drone — even as he told the world he didn’t understand “trigonometry” and “calculus” and complicated mathematical things like that.
All of a sudden, about an hour into the proceedings, he was peppered by Republicans blaming him for legislation leading to the demise of nuclear power in America, and demanding to know if he supports nuclear energy OR NOT.
Al Gore was ready.
“It’s likely to be a small part. I don’t think it will be a large part” he says, without defining “small” or “large.”
He states the he “assumes” that we will “solve the waste problem.”
He feels that we’ll solve the problem of operator errors. We’re not Russia so we could never make the same mistakes THEY made at Chernobyl.
He agreed with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) who said Three Mile Island proved we’re “GOOD” (because it didn’t completely melt down and destroy Pennsylvania).
He laments that nuclear power plants “only come in large.” He looks forward to the next generation of nuclear power plants, which (he feels) will solve all the problems of the previous three generations.
He’s “less sure than he once was” about the usefulness of nuclear power. “So I think it will play a small role in some areas, I don’t think it will be a big part” he says again.
“The waste problem may be solved” he reiterates hopefully. Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) admits “Yeah, we still have problems … waste management…” He did not identify any other problems. Chairperson Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) told Al Gore: “I’ll give you 60 seconds to respond to that speech about nuclear energy [by Senator Larry Craig].”
Gore used his minute to reiterate that he DIDN’T say nuclear power “wasn’t a factor” in his proposed solution to the problem of global warming.
Numerous speakers on both sides of the aisle kept saying nukes are clean, often immediately explaining that they mean they don’t release significant amounts of CO2 during operation. No one talked about fission products. No one talked about the energy-intensive “nuclear fuel cycle,” let alone, the threat from terrorism at every step. No one talked about cancer. No one talked about how much water nuclear power plants use, which would conflict with other uses in a global-warming-induced global water shortage.
No one even talked about renewable energy much. Al Gore stated — correctly, I believe — that small-scale energy producers need to be able to sell electricity to the grid. But his main solution to the problem of global warming — aside from “conservation” (aka “energy efficiency”) and the “small” role nuclear power will play was: Clean coal.
Whatever THAT is!
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he had been thinking about these issues for “about three years” and tells Al Gore: “I hope you’ll think about nuclear more.” Senator Alexander claimed that the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) was about to a complete a new nuclear power plant “on time and under budget.” In fact, Watts Bar Unit II has been “approved for construction” to begin again this year. The original construction project was stopped in 1988. The plant is far from completed, and already 20 years behind schedule! It undoubtedly will cost far more than the original estimates, so its unclear to this writer what failure Senator Alexander is misrepresenting as a victory.
To Senator James Inhofe’s (R-OK) feeble assertion that there are still record low temperatures being set across the country each year (and therefore, he feels, global warming could not possibly be happening), all Al Gore could offer was to DO LUNCH with the Senator and a mutual friend named “Doug Coe” (sp?) so they could go over the issues “without microphones or cameras.”
They let him get away with that gratuitous line, disingenuous (to the public), and many others. This whole event was a shameless sham, a plug for nuclear power and coal (which needs nuclear power, lest it be the ugliest duckling in town). Renewables were given short-shrift when they were mentioned at all.
The next day, John Edwards’ wife announced a return of her cancer. Cancer is the #1 epidemic in this country, it will kill approximately 25% to 40% of us, and many of the rest will have cancer, or will have had cancer, when they die.
At low doses — the doses you get in your day-to-day life — radiation is probably at least a hundred times more capable of inducing cancer than official government statistics admit, especially for fetuses and infants.
Al Gore could study this, and talk about it to Congress, but he comes from the “Oak Ridge” area of Tennessee, where, he joked, “we’re immune to radiation.”
In reality, Al Gore offers NOTHING to environmentalists but more of the same. He scares no one, certainly not anyone in Congress or the nuclear industry, or ANY polluting industry, with his “environmentalism.”
It’s small wonder that the Nuclear Energy Institute was taking out ads on CNN the day Al Gore was speaking to Congress, full of bouncing babies and young moms in the park and proclamations that nuclear power is necessary for a clean tomorrow.
Nuclear power is STILL not a solution to our energy needs OR our environmental needs. It does not solve global warming. It’s a killer.
And Al Gore is still full of hot air.
Russell D. Hoffman, a computer programmer in Carlsbad, California, has written extensively about nuclear power. His essays have been translated into several different languages and published in more than a dozen countries. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org