U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday criticized his rival John McCain's proposal to encourage the building of 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030. 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 policies." Obama was speaking in Nevada, a state where proposals to build a nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain have generated strong opposition. 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." Lets take a look at that last statement, Reprocessing of civilian fuel has long been employed in Europe, at the COGEMA La Hague site in France, the Sellafield site in the United Kingdom, the Mayak Chemical Combine in Russia, the Tokai plant in Japan, the Tarapur plant in India, and briefly at the West Valley Reprocessing Plant in the United States. In October 1976, fear of nuclear weapons proliferation (especially after India demonstrated nuclear weapons capabilities using reprocessing technology) led President Gerald Ford to issue a Presidential directive to indefinitely suspend the commercial reprocessing and recycling of plutonium in the U.S. This was confirmed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. After that, only countries that already had large investments in reprocessing infrastructure continued to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. President Reagan lifted the ban in 1981, but did not provide the substantial subsidy that would have been necessary to start up commercial reprocessing. The technology exist to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and has existed for some time. The problem is that the technology requires an investment from the government. Nuclear reprocessing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia At least four sources exist which contribute to the growing plutonium inventory: (1) the increasing amount of excess military plutonium worldwide from arms reduction agreements (As nuclear warheads are dismantled, plutonium is a leftover); (2) the increasing amount of civilian plutonium from nuclear power reactors (which transform energy for civilian use); (3) the increasing amount of separated plutonium from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel; and (4) the small amount of plutonium from nuclear research reactors (Bullen and McCormick 684). And all of this surplus must be discarded somewhere, in a safe and effective manner. Therefore, the major processes explained her are how the plutonium waste is stored and disposed of. How to store it; The MOX fuel burning option is carried out by mixing plutonium with uranium and producing a slightly different fuel than is now used for civilian reactors. The object of this is to burn up the plutonium by nuclear fission (the splitting of atomic nuclei which releases large amounts of energy). This means more of the plutonium can be used as an energy source in a relatively quick fashion. The burning of the fuel does produce a product of excess plutonium, but this product is far less dangerous to the environment and the global community than the initial plutonium is. So the amount of plutonium is actually reduced as well as leaving the remaining plutonium much less usable for weapons and easier to dispose of (Bullen and McCormick 692). However, the product would still need to be disposed of in some effective manner in order protect the environment and to keep the excess plutonium safeguarded from use in nuclear weapons manufacturing. The vitrification method involves the mixing of weapons-grade plutonium with radioactive waste from civilian reactors and placing this mixture in borosilicate glass logs. The logs would then be buried in a deep borehole that is at least 4 kilometers deep (Bullen and McCormick 690). The idea here is that the plutonium could be suitably encased and isolated to the extent that its decay process may occur without polluting the environment, or being utilized in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. But unfortunately, the only way to know for sure if the encasement will not leak is to try it. This means that it is possible for leakage to pollute the water table also the plutonium could still be mined in the future and used for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. The Subductive Waste Disposal Method is the most viable means of disposing of radioactive waste. The idea is that the waste is removed from the biosphere faster than it can return. Subduction refers to a process in which one tectonic plate slides beneath another at rate of about 6 cm annually, while being reabsorbed into the Earth's mantle. The idea that the technology does not exist, that is environmentally friendly, creates thousands of Jobs , both on-going, and during the construction phase, and will help relieve this countries addiction to foreign sources of energy , shows Baracks Obama's short sighted vision on energy policy, and his adherence to the environmental lobby's mantra of American people last.