Opinion: Nuclear energy is unsafe and unreliable. And we still don’t know what to do with nuclear waste

To the editor: After endless promises that nuclear waste could be stored safely, we now learn that there is no place to safely store tens of thousands of tons of uranium and plutonium for hundreds of thousands of years. (“There’s no great answer for nuclear waste, but almost anything is better than perching it on the Pacific,” editorial, Sept. 11)

The current industry “solution” is to store it unsafely where it was generated (near major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Diego) or to get political revenge and force it on Nevada (a state that produces no nuclear waste and continues to suffer from 928 atom bomb tests).

Did anyone notice that two of Florida’s nuclear power plants quickly shut down before the hurricane? Or that South Carolina has abandoned construction of two new plants after wasting $8 billion on them? How about the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station being closed following a generator failure and radiation accident?


The public is finally realizing that nuclear energy is environmentally unfriendly, very expensive, completely unreliable and very dangerous. Add to that the current dilemma: There still is nowhere to store the toxic waste [the plants] generate.

Roger Johnson, San Clemente


To the editor: For 15 years, hundreds of environmental groups have advocated for hardened on-site storage of irradiated nuclear fuel, as close and safely as possible, to the point of generation as a necessary interim measure.

Why ship highly radioactive waste a thousand miles to the east when it could be moved just a few miles? San Onofre’s wastes can be transferred out of the tsunami zone, away from the earthquake faults, across the 5 Freeway, further inland and to higher ground. By moving the dangerous nuclear fuel rods into the heart of Camp Pendleton, there would be the added bonus of many thousands of U.S. Marines to help guard it.

The push to turn the New Mexico-Texas borderlands into a nuclear wasteland is an environmental injustice. The large Hispanic population already suffers significant pollution from oil drilling, natural gas fracking, uranium enrichment and “low-level” radioactive waste disposal.

Kevin Kamps, Takoma Park, Md.

The writer monitors radioactive waste for the group Beyond Nuclear.

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