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Nuclear power issue splits opinion

July 25, 2007

Re "No to nukes," editorial, July 23

How unfortunate that a powerful and influential paper such as yours chose to issue a statement against nuclear power. Nuclear power has served this country extremely well and continues to serve as a role model for safety and human performance across all industries. The used fuel is small in volume and will, in about 400 years or so, be less radioactive than the ore from which it was mined.

Steven Zawalick

San Luis Obispo

We thank and congratulate The Times for its courageous declaration that the nuclear-power emperor is naked in the face of global warming. Our organization has been saying this in Illinois -- the most nuclear-reliant state in the U.S. -- since 1988, when then-Commonwealth Edison lost more than 100 days of reactor operation during drought conditions similar to those expected in a future global warming world. The reactors were literally cooking the rivers. This phenomenon was repeated in 2005 and 2006, and it occurred in Europe in the last several years. Given this demonstrated performance weakness -- not being able to generate electricity when needed most -- rather than nuclear power saving humankind from global warming, humanity needs to invent a way to save nuclear power from global warming effects.

David A. Kraft


Nuclear Energy

Information Service


Your editorial does a disservice to the Japanese nuclear industry. In last week's earthquake, Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s reactors were subjected to strong ground motion. All safety systems functioned as designed, and no damage occurred to the reactor core or spent fuel. A tiny amount of radioactive material, equivalent to the amount in a typical home smoke detector, was released. The most severe criticism of TEPCO centers on its communication during the first several hours after the earthquake about what had happened. Your editorial misses the mark not just on the Japan quake but on assertions about the likely growth potential and cost of new nuclear plants versus alternative sources of low-carbon power.

Per Peterson


Department of

Nuclear Engineering

UC Berkeley

In the long run, we can get all the energy we need from the wind, sun and increased efficiency. It's worth noting that although France is being promoted by the industry as a poster child for atomic energy, there are no reactors under construction there. But wind farms are being built with wide, popular acceptance.

Harvey Wasserman

Bexley, Ohio

Three Mile Island is a clear example of how machines and human error can jeopardize public safety. We should ask ourselves if our government is prepared to handle a potential accident, based on its handing of other disasters. Choosing a side over nuclear power isn't about politics. It depends on whether we are prepared to accept the bad with the good. Once our federal government has shown that it can prepare well and respond promptly to potential accidents, then I might reconsider my pessimistic view of nuclear power.

Risha Bera


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