Reaching WAY Across the Gap on Nuclear Power

December 10th, 2007

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Today Al Gore went to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, making him the second son of Carthage, Tennessee to bring home that honor (the first was Cordell Hull). What is in the water in Carthage and Hope, Arkansas?

It was a proud day not only for Carthage but for all of us former Gore staffers. While far short of the presidency, the prize he deserved, the Nobel signals Gore’s immense role in offering a global wake-up call on climate change.

With an existential crisis looming for humanity, Third Way is trying to do our part, too. And last week, that effort put me prominently before a sign that said, in a fashionable, repeated graphic: “The Heritage Foundation.”

Now, let’s be clear: the views of the folks at Heritage are antithetical to Third Way’s on virtually everything. And I have no doubt that the feeling is deeply mutual. But in politics, ideological combatants make strong allies, and that’s why Third Way has teamed with The Heritage Foundation to help promote what many are calling “the nuclear renaissance.”

We believe, as we have written before, that progressives must embrace nuclear power, the only major baseload power source that doesn’t emit carbon. Until renewable sources mature, and we should be pushing hard to get there, the US must have more nuclear power if we are to avoid ramping up our reliance on coal and other carbon-producing sources.

We have also said, in a recent Boston Globe oped, that we must find a better way of dealing with nuclear waste, the issue on the table for last week’s panel at Heritage. As the experts there pointed out, it is time for the United States to join Japan, France, and much of the rest of the industrialized world in dealing with our nuclear waste in the same sensible fashion we are dealing with other waste – by recycling it.

Heritage has a webcast of the event here. I hope you’ll check it out.