E-mail letters, Feb. 5, 2010

Nuclear energy still is not cost efficent nor safe

Nuclear energy proponents are touting their fallacies again.

They don’t seem to realize that tons of fossil-fuels are typically used (for electricity/heating) in constructing and operating the extensive equipment and facilities of the ore mining and milling processes necessary for nuclear plants. This includes massive numbers of truck/cart hauls of uranium ores and wastes. Low-level radioactive dust also infiltrates the air and waterways everywhere this transporting takes place. Small amounts of mutagenic or carcinogenic radioactive isotopes like xenon, krypton, argon and tritium are often discharged into the air from nuclear plants’ stacks, too.

Nuclear cheerleaders espouse the low cost of the actual energy generation from their process compared to other fuels, but they conveniently leave out the cost of building the actual plant. A new nuclear plant realistically costs almost $ 11 billion, now, and factoring the payback (loan principal & interest/shareholder returns) required of those funds into the consumers’ price makes a nuclear plant’s 7.5 cents per kwh energy cost more than many of the renewable-energy generation methods — and that is with stupefying taxpayer subsidies for nuclear. These taxpayer subsidies include the biggest share of U.S. Energy Department research and development costs, $ 54 billion for 100 percent guaranteed federal loans, outright construction funds, waste clean-ups (like our own region’s UMTRA’s $ 2.3 billion program), storage facilities security (potentially 2,000 year minimum taxpayer commitments), 90 percent of a potential companies’ liabilities’ costs (Price Anderson Act), a bloated federal agency (NRC) with a $ 930 million annual budget, higher Medicare/Medicaid/private insurance costs for us all due to cancers/respiratory diseases/genetic disorders etc., $ 150,000 federal compensation/full-time nursing care for impacted nuclear industry employees, and all kinds of local and state governmental employees required to permit and monitor radioactive operations. If solar energy would have had the monies that went to nuclear the last three decades the U.S. could now be using the sun for most of our daytime energy and the cleanest natural-gas power plants for our nighttime and other back-up needs.


‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is a good policy

Those who want to drop “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have probably never served as a low-ranking enlisted member of the armed forces. I have. I served for almost 25 years from the days of living , eating, sleeping and fighting with other men. Those early days were bad enough with all the things one must endure without having two guys next to you making love, or worse, coming on to you.

If homosexuals can openly display their affection for each other in the ranks it will open up a real can on worms. For example, suppose the sergeant and one of his men are in love. Or perhaps the lieutenant takes a shine to a sergeant. What does this do to the morale of those who are looking for unbiased evaluations, assignments and promotions?

Open homosexuality will lead to divisions within a unit that will reduce their effectiveness to accomplish the mission.

Finally, why do we have the best armed forces in the world? One reason is that we have “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and other countries do not.

CLARK WINGATE Lt Colonel, Retired

Grand Junction


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