Nuclear is not the answer

Tom Horton's op-ed in praise of Norman Meadows and nuclear power presented inaccuracies ("Time for greens to embrace nukes," May 22). Climate change is a crisis that necessitates phasing out fossil fuels, but relying on nuclear power to replace them is neither possible nor safe.

Nuclear, like wind, does need backup. Last week 20 of the 104 plants in the U.S. were at zero production including: Calvert Cliffs reactor offline twice this month with malfunctioning steam valves initially; Harris in Raleigh, weakness in vessel head, out since May 15; Palisades, leaking storage tanks, out since May 5th ; San Onofre's two reactors, premature tube wear, out for over a year; Fort Calhoun, safety violation since flooding, out since April, 2011. Kewaunee in Wisconsin was recently shut down for good and will cost an estimated $1 billion to decommission. Votle in Georgia, the one new plant since Three Mile Island disaster, is years away from completion if ever (in nuclear power there is a historic completion rate of 50 percent).

In the United States there are 70,000 metric tons of nuclear waste with no permanent home and meanwhile the taxpayers will end up paying over $22 billion to the utilities for housing this waste. Nuclear power requires enriched uranium for fuel and creates plutonium waste, the ingredients for nuclear weapon proliferation. In Japan, there are 160,000 refugees from Fukushima, and they will probably never be able to return. Fish have been recovered off the harbor that have 7400 times the permissible levels of radiation. Children cannot safely grow in an environment contaminated with radioactive cesium where repeated ingestion of contaminated food, soil and water is a recipe for cancer.

Wind farms can be located so they don't necessitate cutting down forests nor interfere with migratory paths. Wind does not create deadly emissions when accidents occur. According to a 2011 Union of Concerned Scientists report, wind is cheaper than new nuclear. Yes, we need to curb our gargantuan usage. Decreased consumption, increased energy efficiency, wind and solar, with back up from geothermal, hydropower, and biomass will get us to zero coal, zero nuclear, minimal carbon dioxide.

Dr. Gwen L. DuBois

The writer is a member of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Wind farm addresses climate change threat

    In the past two or three weeks, The Sun has printed at least three letters dealing with the Somerset County wind farm ("Wind project raises serious safety, health concerns," Dec. 6). They differed so much in content that it was almost impossible to see any commonality, except that none...

  • Wind project raises serious safety, health concerns

    Andy Bowman's recent commentary regarding his company's wind power project in Somerset County does not represent the view from the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay ("Politics, not safety concerns, hamper Eastern Shore wind project," Dec. 1).

  • Wind farm would harm Navy testing

    As a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and past director of the Test Resource Management Center, it is clear to me that the decision to defer a final decision on the Great Bay Wind Energy Project was not a result of the political machinations of Rep. Steny Hoyer or any other...

  • Mikulski got it right on Somerset wind turbines [Letter]
    Mikulski got it right on Somerset wind turbines [Letter]

    Congratulations to Sen. Barbara Mikulski on her stance regarding the Patuxent River Air Station and the prolonged initiative to place wind turbines in Somerset County ("Eastern Shore wind farm: Let the Navy decide," Aug. 18).

  • Nuclear power doesn't add up [Letter]
    Nuclear power doesn't add up [Letter]

    I read with interest the commentary, "The nuclear option" (Aug. 26), in The Baltimore Sun, and I wanted to comment on just one aspect of this public pitch for nuclear power. The author omitted the fact that Constellation Energy made application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to...

  • Eastern Shore wind farm: Let the Navy decide [Editorial]
    Eastern Shore wind farm: Let the Navy decide [Editorial]

    Our view: Senator Mikulski should stop trying to save Pax River from itself

  • Put wind farm on hold [Letter]
    Put wind farm on hold [Letter]

    One can always hear a great "spin" in a story, particularly when the authors are activists for a cause. I refer to the commentary concerning wind turbines in Somerset County ("A wind-win situation," April 21). Authors Tom Vinson and Bruce Burcat are paid individuals whose job is to promote wind...

  • Criticism of Somerset wind farm proposal is off base [Letter]
    Criticism of Somerset wind farm proposal is off base [Letter]

    As the developers of the proposed Somerset County wind farm, we feel compelled to respond to the blatant — and seemingly intentional — factual misstatements put forth in recent letters to the editor by opponents of our investment.

Comments
Loading