I'm a nuclear power proponent without, I hope, being a nuclear power apologist. Nuclear power is dangerous. It has been described as "the largest unfunded mandate in the history of human civilization," meaning that using nuclear energy for our immediate energy needs creates a waste problem that countless generations will be dealing with long after we're dead. If anything good comes out of the crisis in Japan, I hope it's a more open discussion about how badly we need the energy that nuclear power plants can provide us, but how poorly we have been dealing with the nuclear waste problem. Maybe the Japan crisis will draw some much needed attention to the terrible plight of refugee spent nuclear fuel rods. They are the Palestinians of the nuclear energy world, with no viable long term home and no one who wants to take them in. They're quickly filling up all available space in cooling pools at power plants all around the U.S. and, as we've found out, their long-term presence at nuclear reactor sites can compound and amplify the serious risks inherent in using nuclear power. In that sense, [link=http://boards.theforce.net/the_senate_floor/b10320/30839761/]Darth_Yuthura's Yucca Mountain thread[/link] was prescient. Yucca Mountain is a perfect example of all that has not gone right with America's long-range strategic energy planning, namely, our political process makes such planning impossible. The need for a permanent national solution for nuclear waste storage becomes more pressing with each passing year. Maybe now Obama will take some needed heat for his own opposition to Yucca Mountain. If we continue to let short term political interests get in the way of long range energy planning, the nuclear waste problems will keep piling up until we get an accident we could have avoided had our political process been capable of a longer attention span. Yucca Mountain is the kind of things Federal Governments were made for. It is the kind of thing big government, especially the kind that builds nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and subsidizes and supports civilian nuclear power, is obligated to do, not just for the people it serves now, but for future citizens who haven't even been born yet.