Letter: Get the facts straight on nuclear energy

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Editor of the Reformer,

I was disturbed by the letter written by Kendall Neutron of San Diego, CA ("Nuclear waste can be dealt with safely") and published in the Oct. 19-20 Reformer. Neutron claims to be a nuclear engineer who also claims to have a simple solution to the problem of safe storage and disposal of nuclear waste.

I question the cost and safety of the solutions that are described.

Over 140 scientists from all over the world collaborated to write the book "Drawdown" edited by Paul Hawkin and published in 2017. They rank nuclear energy at No. 20 in the top 100 strategies to reduce or reverse global warming and describe these warnings:

Gen. 1 and 2 nuclear reactors (which include those built at Chernobyl and Fukushima and all those in the U.S.) use water to slow down nuclear chain reactions and use enriched uranium fuel. These are all located near major rivers or oceans making them capable of spewing nuclear radiation into major water supplies should any accident occur. The world watched this happen in Chernobyl and Fukushima, and to say that "nuclear energy is already the safest, cleanest, most eco-friendly, and least resource intensive way of generating constant power" is UNTRUE.

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In addition to this, "Drawdown" reports this fact: "While virtually every other form of energy has gone down (in cost) over time, a nuclear power plant's (cost) is four to eight times higher than it was four decades ago. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, advanced nuclear is the most expensive form of energy besides conventional gas turbines, which are comparatively inefficient. Onshore wind is a quarter of the cost of nuclear power."

This is why the U.S. and Germany are closing down their older nuclear facilities and not planning new ones. China has 33 nuclear plants in operation and about 22 under construction as they move away from coal fired plants due to air pollution and global warming. China is also building solar and wind power at a very fast rate and producing electric vehicles of all kinds and is committed to reaching peak carbon dioxide in 2030 with a reduction of its carbon footprint from that day forward.

Let's get the facts straight and continue to implement all kinds of less costly and less dangerous ways of producing and storing energy. In New England let's work on replacing our last few aging nuclear plants with large offshore wind arrays such as Vineyard Wind which could produce at least 400 megawatts of power in its first stage of development.

Emma Stamas

Colrain, Mass., Oct. 29


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