Friday, December 21, 2007

End push for nuclear power and focus on renewable energy

Dec. 21, 2007

End push for nuclear power and focus on renewable energy

John M. Goldenring

The problem with nuclear power as a solution for global warming is the same as it has always been — some waste can't be disposed of for about 20,000 years. America does not need to solve one environmental problem by creating another ("How risky is the new era of nuclear power?," Cover story, News, Dec. 12).

Already, there is far too much nuclear waste to deal with. Even if one puts aside the issues of potential leaks in power plants, the nuclear garbage issue should be enough for the U.S. government to stop pursuing nuclear power.

It should be moving toward exploring more options for safe, non-polluting renewable energy sources. But the Bush administration continues to push for big money for nuclear power companies and much smaller amounts for all other energy approaches.

Nuclear power is 'viable'

Stephen Bennett - Madison, Ala.

I read USA TODAY's article on nuclear power with frustration. I worked in this industry as a mechanical engineer on nuclear safety systems throughout the '80s and early '90s and watched the slow demise of an otherwise viable source of energy. This was largely due to the uninformed public's resistance to it.

USA TODAY's article cites the Union of Concerned Scientists, which has been screaming about "serious safety problems" of nuclear power for decades. USA TODAY readers should remember that the incident at Three Mile Island happened 28 years ago.

I was disappointed that USA TODAY did not mention plants that have operated safely for decades. I would like to see USA TODAY report the whole picture.

I also think that the nuclear industry should take the offensive by educating the public on the advantages and safety of this energy source.

Waste issue is complex

Susan M. Schoenbohm, program coordinator, Vanderbilt University Center for Ethics - Nashville

I was shocked and alarmed to find no mention of the problems of disposing of nuclear waste in the article on the risks of the "new era of nuclear power."

The article describes the safety risks of several nuclear plants. But in the minds of many Americans, the issue of nuclear waste disposal is certainly as important as regulating the safety of the plants. Nuclear waste always will be a problem, and the U.S. government must do more to make sure it is disposed of safely.

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