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Nuclear Energy: Risks and Rewards

June 18, 2005

Re "Nuclear Waste Outpaces Solutions," June 12: During the two-year period, 1991-93, I was responsible for the engineering design of upgrade modifications at the Dresden nuclear station in Morris, Ill., featured in your article. At the time, on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel had already become a critical problem. The failure of the Department of Energy to move forward with the Yucca Mountain waste depository in Nevada since then has only exacerbated this problem.

It certainly is poor policy to let nuclear waste accumulate in casks at nuclear power plants, but it is much more dangerous to curtail the use of nuclear energy. Our energy options are so limited by the prospect of global warming that we must use all the non-greenhouse-gas-emitting technologies we can, and nuclear has been the most successful. With 20% of our electricity coming from nuclear in the U.S., it is only outpaced by coal-burning. Given the risks of thick-walled, reinforced-concrete casks compared to disastrous climate change, I'll take nuclear power any day.

Arthur Sanders

Los Angeles

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