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Letters to the editor

Nuclear power; trying alleged terrorists in U.S. criminal courts; the political rise of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

March 11, 2010

Nuclear power's place

Re “Nuclear power isn’t ‘green,’ it isn’t safe and it isn’t cost-effective,” Opinion, March 5

Those who profit from nuclear power plants seem to have co-opted part of the media space to continue the falsehoods of "safe, clean" nuclear power.

Nuclear power is not safe (ask worried workers at San Onofre) and not clean (when the polluting fossil fuels required for the whole nuclear fuel cycle are considered). It is never cost-effective, as no commercial company will touch a nuclear project without massive government subsidies and government insurance.

Thanks to Chip Ward for telling it like it is.

Dorothy Boberg

The notion that spent fuel rods from conventional nuclear reactors are waste is a misconception. Nuclear waste is a valuable, clean energy resource.

The current U.S. nuclear waste inventory is equivalent to 9 trillion barrels of oil -- four times the known oil reserves.

General Atomics is developing the energy multiplier module, a small, modular nuclear reactor that exploits this resource to produce energy, to reduce the nuclear waste inventory and to minimize proliferation risks.

EM2 addresses safety and cost concerns. It is expected to operate for

30 years without refueling. It will also generate about 240 megawatts of electrical power at a cost 30% less than that of current nuclear reactors.

This technology is a game-changer for the industry and a solution to the problems associated with nuclear energy.

John Parmentola
San Diego
The author is senior vice president for energy and electromagnetic systems at General Atomics.

Re “Now is the time to jump-start the nuclear power industry,” Opinion, March 5

Patrick Moore advocates building 45 nuclear power plants to meet the goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 42% by 2030. He claims that they would be safe, clean and sustainable.

Actually, nuclear power plants are not really clean and not really safe. And because supplies of uranium are limited, they are not really sustainable.

We need to invest in new infrastructure to create a secure, sustainable energy future. There may be a limited role for nuclear power. Reflecting a more realistic approach, President Obama has proposed funding seven to 10 new nuclear power plants as part of a diverse new energy system for America.

Energy conservation and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal have almost unlimited potential. They are the real key to our successful transition to an economy based on sustainable energy.

John D. Kelley
Santa Barbara

Trying their patience

Re “White House reconsiders terror trials in civil court,” March 6

I am sickened anew by Obama's continuing display of monumental cowardice. This time, it's his kowtowing to the know-nothings who insist that our criminal justice system is incapable of handling the so-called 9/11 conspirators.

I propose that Obama conduct a funeral service at the White House, with two coffins front and center labeled HOPE and CHANGE. He can invite the pillars of the military-industrial-torture complex, health insurance executives, the Rick Warrens of the world, Wall Street's banking bonus babies and all the rest and be done with it.

The theme of the service will be "Long live the status quo!" -- which candidate Obama so eloquently decried but which President Obama has so warmly embraced.

Ambrose Bruce Terrence
Van Nuys

That where suspected 9/11 plotters may be tried could be a front-page story, and the subject of significant dispute, is a mark of how the least of governmental minutia can be politicized and come to occupy the (apparently shrunken) mental processes of a once-promising nation.

Next we'll be disputing the softness of the toilet paper allotted to these miscreants.

Don't we have more meaningful ways to prove our inability to legislate -- like whether medical care should be available at reasonable cost, whether gays should be allowed into the military and whether a seemingly permanent unregulated economy should be further ignored in favor of political bloviation and systemic failure?

John O'Donnell
Los Angeles

Re “White House reconsiders terror trials in civil court,” March 6

Chamber funds

Re “New lobbying force taking shape in D.C.,” March 9

If we were not already alarmed by the recent Supreme Court decision on corporations and political donations, then the report of the huge amount of money being raised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for grass-roots organizing and lobbying ought to be a wake-up call.

Moderates, liberals, conservatives and even "tea party" participants can agree: This is an issue of Wall Street versus Main Street. We are turning our country over to the financial institutions and insurance companies, here and abroad.

Those of us who wish to protect our rights should remember that the Constitution begins with "We the people . . ."

Michael McFadden
Newport Beach

Malaysian politician's trial

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