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Opinion

Readers React: Is building nuclear power plants the best way to boil water for generating electricity?

All U.S. nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorism, probe finds
The Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.
(Joe Johnston / McClatchy-Tribune)

To the editor: Aside from hydroelectric power, the generation of electricity is the same for coal-fired and nuclear power plants. Both boil water to produce steam that drives electricity-producing turbines. (“If California wants to go carbon-free, it needs to end its nuclear moratorium,” Opinion, Sept. 24)

Since 2006, Mitsubishi Corp. has been working on a project to utilize the planet’s fourth-most common element, magnesium, combined with water to produce heat (fire) to power internal combustion and jet engines. Japan has recently manufactured hydrogen-powered cars and filling stations.

There are plenty of flammable substances that can be used to make fire. Hemp is the best botanical for biofuel production due to its short growth cycle and flammability. California has millions of dead trees due to drought and beetle infestation that can be harvested to burn in existing boilers. Exxon Mobil is developing algae as a source of biofuel.

Chernobyl and Fukushima should be reason enough to consider nuclear power as a last option for the production of electricity.

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Craig Simmons, Northridge

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To the editor: Ted Nordhaus and Jameson McBride make excellent points about the feasibility of nuclear power, but there is one other point I would like to add: So-called renewable power sources also have serious and unavoidable environmental downsides.

The negative consequences of hydro power are widely recognized, which is why many dams are actually being removed from rivers. Wind power involves placing large rotating blades in wind streams; as a result hundreds of thousands of birds are killed every year in North America.

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Solar panels last 20 to 30 years and steadily lose effectiveness during that period. They are loaded up with very toxic materials and thus become unrecyclable. Large solar power plants set up in the deserts destroy the natural habitat.

Nuclear power, which has been safely used in France for decades, actually has fewer detrimental environmental consequences if properly managed.

Erica Hahn, Monrovia

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