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The radioactive waste problem makes nuclear power a renewable energy nonstarter in California

The radioactive waste problem makes nuclear power a renewable energy nonstarter in California
Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County is the last nuclear power plant in operation in California. (Joe Johnston / McClatchy-Tribune)

To the editor: The main reason the nuclear industry is “at risk of collapse” is because there is no sustainable answer to the nuclear waste problem, which was not mentioned one time in this article. Talk about ignoring the elephant sitting in the middle of the room.

Until the waste issue is permanently and adequately resolved, no one should refer to the nuclear industry as “one of our best weapons in our fight against climate change.”

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Joel Anderson, Studio City

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To the editor: Nuclear reactors may be designed by brilliant engineers, but for operators, there are years of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror. Eventually the bean-counters hire Homer Simpson and cut corners.

We can’t afford nuclear power because the maximum probable loss is uninsurable. If an earthquake or tsunami takes out Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County, will operator Pacific Gas and Electric pay for the damage? Of course not.

So we will make it work with solar, wind and batteries.

Steve Harrington, Encinitas

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To the editor: The vice president of nuclear technologies and materials at General Atomics is quoted as saying: “The reality is you cannot actually replace 20% of the need with wind and solar, unless you want to wallpaper every square inch of many states.”

Here’s the actual reality: Using 2016 data for California, I found that utilizing only one-eighth of 1% of California’s agricultural land for solar would make up for the loss of nuclear energy.

The coming years will be challenging as the state moves to sources of low-carbon energy. We will need to think carefully and clearly about how to do this. Fear-mongering sound-bites from the energy industry are not going to help us get there.

Daniel Snowden-Ifft, South Pasadena

The writer is a physics professor at Occidental College who headed that school’s recent solar energy project.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook.

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