Letters at Length

Article on nuclear fears left out facts

The Seth Borenstein AP article "What's behind our conflicted feelings on nukes?" left out a lot of pertinent facts.

First, the experts telling us to be logical and not to worry are mostly the experts profiting from the nuclear power industry. The experts in the Union of Concerned Scientists, while mentioned in the article, not only report on the failings of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission in correcting many potential hazards in our current nuclear plants. That group also points out that the costs and hazards of nuclear power do not make it a viable energy alternative.

Quoting from their website: "The rapidly escalating and still highly uncertain costs of new nuclear plants — along with the stated unwillingness of Wall Street to finance them — has sent the industry back to the federal government for financial assistance. In response, Congress authorized a package of subsidies in 2005 that included federal loan guarantees and production tax credits. The industry is now asking for more.

"Authorizing a new loan guarantee program or modifying an existing one without establishing such protections" (limits to loan guarantees) "is tantamount to opening the doors of the U.S. Treasury to virtually unlimited taxpayer liability for future industry bailouts.

"The industry must resolve major economic, safety, security and waste-disposal challenges before new nuclear reactors could make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions."

No nuclear power plant has been built in the U.S. for a long time for these reasons, and the fact that no one will insure nuclear power plants and no safe storage has been found for the spent fuel.

The citizens in Sacramento voted to close the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant, run by a public utility, after the plant had many radioactive leaks into the nearby creek, caused millions of dollars in maintenance problems and was found to be the same design as Three Mile Island. Since then, that public utility's cost control, encouragement of conservation and utilization of green technologies have become the envy of the rest of California. So much so that a rival utility, PG&E, unsuccessfully launched a petition to block the formation of other public utilities in California.

Delayed health effects of radiation have made death attributions difficult. But the immediate poisoning of food, water and air has irrefutably made the tragedy in Japan demonstrate that it can happen here.

Margery Winter


Still we proceed with nuclear insanity

We can all live without nuclear power, but we cannot live with it. It is too expensive, too uncomfortable and, above all, too risky. There is no such thing as safe nuclear energy — such a concept is an oxymoron. It is an illusion to believe that such an insidious force can be contained.

Its very structure makes such a belief untenable. Think shelf life of 10,000 years. It is the sleeping giant that should never have been awakened.

Despite what advocates contend, every nuclear power plant, storage site and weapons arsenal has some amount of leakage. There are some things that are better left untouched, and nuclear energy is one of them. It is the costliest, most dangerous source of energy ever conceived of by mankind.

It is unconscionable that any government could not only allow but promote such a life-threatening energy producer to be used. All existing plants should be immediately shut down and dismantled and it should be against the law to build any more anywhere ever again.

Each ensuing nuclear scenario becomes worse, and now we have Japan. Another crime against humanity by humanity.

Must our planet be engulfed in spewing toxic flames before people will finally rise up and say enough is too much? Must all life suffer the consequences of the myopic leading the mindless over the precipice?

If people were to drop dead immediately upon being touched by the invisible, silent, odorless substance called radiation, no one would consider using it. Since it is elusive and accumulative over long periods of time, it is out of sight, out of mind, so the nightmare continues.

Those who have protested its use have been ridiculed and/or ignored. That's what happens when madness prevails.

I will end with a quote from the reasonable, rational mind of Albert Einstein: "The splitting of the atom has changed everything save our mode of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe."

Nicole Rupert-Twining


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