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Tough choices

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The Feb. 16 issue manages to spotlight the "I want"/"I don't want" schizophrenia of many who claim to love the environment. First, the article "Wind setbacks": How can some of you look in the mirror after expressing rabid support for alternative energy sources like wind, if you insist that the turbines that generate the energy aren't too close to your property line and don't disrupt your viewshed? It doesn't work that way; to get, you need to give. Would you rather have a wind farm a mile from your house, or a coal-fired plant over the horizon that acidifies your rain? We all should be welcoming alternative-energy sources to our part of the world, instead of making it impossible for such sources to find sufficient room to contribute significantly to our energy portfolio.

And second -- yet another letter criticizing Yucca Mountain as the proposed repository for disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Well, let's see. ... You don't want global warming, you don't want nuclear power, and the U.S. cannot be powered entirely by alternative-energy sources. Choices are to be made, it appears. More people are killed on the highways every year than would ever die as a result of radioactive material that might be released from Yucca Mountain, even in a catastrophic eruption. Yucca Mountain would not be perfect, but perhaps you might not spend so much energy fighting it if you objectively weigh your alternatives. Clean nuclear power, with a small (yes, small) risk from the resulting waste, or carbon dioxide-generating power generation? You can't say "neither," if all of us are going to maintain the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed.

Fran Nimick
Edgewood, New Mexico

Nuclear is Not the Answer
Nunya Asunto
Nunya Asunto
Mar 28, 2009 03:19 PM
Nuclear power is not clean. The green washing of the nuke industry in this century is one of the most amazing feats of public disinformation I have ever witnessed. Any energy source that produces dangerous and polluting WASTE, is not clean. The uranium mining industry has a wretched history of environmental, public health, and human rights disasters. No, nuclear is not clean. Not when the environment is destroyed, people are made sick, and indigenous communities in Niger and the U.S. are displaced by the production of the fuel for these reactors.

Nuclear is not an economically feasible solution to climate change. A nuclear reactor has not been built in the U.S. for decades. That is because it is just too expensive. The nuclear industry relies heavily on tax payer money just to remain competitive. The nuclear industry has had the time to develop competitive technologies and has simply failed to create a product that can survive in an open market. Rather than bailing the nuclear industry out, it should be left to the market to decide. The full cost of nuclear, considering the whole fuel cycle is so mind boggling it is hardly understood by scientists. Energy Secretary Chu openly admitted that he didn't understand the full cost of nuclear. The amount of new reactors that would need to be built is one every couple of years to even come close to offsetting carbon emissions. The cost to do that would be enormous and I don't know of a single developer that even has the capacity of funding to do that kind of thing. If the government and private industry were to start throwing the amount of money it wastes on nuclear research and development at Truly clean, renewable, and sustainable forms of energy we could overcome this problem. A country free of carbon and nuclear is attainable.

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