(Adds more details, Obama quote on nuclear power)
LAS VEGAS, June 24 U.S. presidential candidate
Barack Obama on Tuesday criticized his rival John McCain's
proposal to encourage the building of 45 new nuclear reactors
Obama, a Democrat, said the Republican candidate lacked a
plan for storage of the waste. It was among several
energy-strategy ideas that Obama said were "not serious energy
Obama was speaking in Nevada, a state where proposals to
build a nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain have
generated strong opposition.
He also took aim at McCain's plan to allow more offshore
U.S. oil drilling.
"It doesn't make sense for America," Obama said. "In fact,
it makes about as much sense as his proposal to build 45 new
nuclear reactors without a plan to store the waste some place
other than right here at Yucca Mountain," the Illinois senator
The U.S. Energy Department has applied for a license to
operate a long-delayed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain,
about 90 miles (145 km) from Las Vegas.
Opposition in the U.S. Congress to the Yucca Mountain waste
site is among the hurdles it faces. Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, is among those who oppose
McCain, an Arizona senator, backs the project, while Obama
is against it.
Asked his views on nuclear power in Jacksonville, Florida
on Friday, Obama said, "I think that nuclear power should be in
the mix when it comes to energy." But he added, "I don't think
it's our optimal energy source because we haven't figured out
how to store the waste safely or recycle the waste."
Obama supports using federal research and development
dollars to explore whether nuclear waste can be stored safely
(Reporting by Caren Bohan, Editing by Cynthia Osterman)