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Bloomberg News - McCain Plans to Almost Double U.S. Nuclear Reactors

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Location: Chicago, IL

Bloomberg News - McCain Plans to Almost Double U.S. Nuclear Reactors

Republican presidential candidate John McCain will push to almost double the number of nuclear reactors in the U.S. as part of a broad plan to address the nation's energy woes.

On the second day of a two-week tour to promote his energy security proposal, McCain told an audience in Springfield, Missouri, yesterday that he would increase research in so-called clean-coal technology and push to add 100 new nuclear reactors, almost double the 104 nuclear plants now in use.

``I will set this nation on a course to building 45 new reactors by the year 2030, with the ultimate goal of 100 new plants to power the homes and factories and cities of America,'' McCain said. ``This task will be as difficult as it is necessary. We will need to recover all the knowledge and skills that have been lost over three stagnant decades in a highly technical field.''

McCain's remarks build on a speech in Houston on June 17 in which he laid out the elements of his energy plan. Central to that plan is expansion of offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, a proposal that is under fire from his Democratic rival, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, and environmental groups.

``One obstacle to expanding our nuclear-powered electricity is the mindset of those who prefer to buy time and hope that our energy problems will somehow solve themselves,'' McCain said, noting that Obama's home state of Illinois has more nuclear reactors than any other.

Clean-Burning Coal

McCain, an Arizona senator, also vowed to spend $2 billion on research into clean-burning coal.

``This single achievement will open vast amounts of our oldest and most abundant resource,'' McCain, 71, said. ``It will deliver not only electricity but jobs to some of the areas hardest hit by our economic troubles.

McCain's energy plan also includes spending on renewable resources such as wind and solar power.

McCain was joined at the forum by Michael Chesser, chairman and CEO of Kansas City, Missouri-based Great Plains Energy, and Greg Boyce, chairman and CEO of St. Louis-based Peabody Coal, the largest U.S. coal producer, who said a patchwork of state and federal regulations are hampering their ability to build new power generators.

``We need to have a regulatory compact in place,'' Chesser said. ``There are definitely things you could do as president to facilitate that environment.''

McCain also touted his environmental bona fides at a fundraiser in Chicago last night. In a 10-minute film preceding his appearance at the Drake Hotel, McCain made an appeal to outdoorsmen.

``Our ability to hunt and fish and enjoy the great national treasures of America is something I'd like to preserve,'' McCain said in the film. ``I'm committed to preserving the enjoyment of the great national treasures of the most beautiful nation in the world.''

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