Letters to the Editor
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Nuclear Power: Pro and Con
Dear Bay Weekly:
One persons subsidies is anothers tax incentives. It all depends on whether youre for it or against it, and obviously the writer of the editorial No Taxpayer Subsidies for Nuclear Power [Vol. xiii, No 34: Aug. 25] is against the citing of new nuclear construction in Calvert County. But before we arbitrarily accept the claims against nuclear, lets put a few things in perspective so that your readers can make an educated choice of whether or not to support it.
Nuclear energy, which supplies over one-fourth of Marylands electricity, prevented the release of over 20,000 tons of NOx, over 100,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 12.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2004 alone.
Nuclear is able to provide a tremendous amount of energy for an extremely small amount of waste. A pellet of uranium the size of the tip of your little finger can supply as much energy as 20,000 pounds of coal. Once used, this fuel is easily contained and stored. And, best of all, even after it is used, nearly 90 percent of the potential energy is still contained in the fuel. Instead of burying it underground, it should be recycled as fuel for future energy supplies.
At a time when the United States is on the cusp of an energy crisis, not to mention the more dire threat of global warming, which the Chesapeake Bay has already begun to experience, we cannot afford to ignore one of the largest, cleanest and safest sources of domestically supplied energy that the United States can offer: nuclear power.
Michael Stuart: Public Information Officer,
North American Young Generation in Nuclear
Dear Bay Weekly:
I am glad that you are standing up in opposition of a new nuclear facility being built, especially in Maryland [No Taxpayer Subsidies for Nuclear Power, Vol. xiii, No 34: Aug. 25]. One of the biggest problems with nuclear energy, aside from the astounding costs and threat of a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant, is the disposal of highly radioactive waste.
High-level radioactive waste is another name for the uranium fuel rods that fire the nuclear reactor. This kind of waste is hazardous because of its high radiation levels that are capable of producing fatal doses within moments of exposure. As a result, these wastes must be isolated for up to 240,000 years. A daunting task considering the fact that the nuclear industry has already had trouble accounting for high-level radioactive wastes that were supposedly stored at reactor sites.
The nuclear industry is no closer to solving the nuclear waste problem than it was more than 50 years ago. Rather than attempt to construct more reactors that will produce even more deadly nuclear waste, the federal government should phase out the remaining nuclear reactors and replace them with clean, renewable sources of electricity.
Hallie Caplan: Greenpeace, Washington, D.C.