Printed letters, Feb. 11, 2010
True cost is high for nuclear energy
Nuclear energy proponents are touting their fallacies again. They don’t seem to realize that tons of fossil fuels are typically used (for electricity and heating) in constructing and operating mining and milling processes necessary for nuclear plants.
This includes massive numbers of truck and cart hauls of uranium ore and wastes. Low-level radioactive dust 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. That and other factors make 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 $ 2.3 billion program), storage facilities security, 90 percent of a potential companies’ liability costs, a bloated Nuclear Regulatory Commission with a $930 million annual budget, higher health insurance costs for us all due to related disease, $150,000 federal compensation and 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 money that went to nuclear the last three decades, the United States could now be using the sun for most of our daytime energy and the cleanest natural-gas power plants for our nighttime and other backup needs.
JOEL PRUDHOMME Grand Junction
Horses killed and hurt in the BLM’s roundup
I appreciated the story on the wild horse roundup, though I feel it is at least slightly slanted. There is also this reality happening, as reported in The New York Times on Jan. 30:
Now, 23 horses have died, plus 20-30 mares have had spontaneous abortions in the corrals in their third trimesters from the stress.
Writer on wrong track on government services
I have to wonder how Bill Grant forms his opinions or if he actually reads the newspaper.
In his column of Feb. 3, he seems to believe that the voters of Colorado Springs are misers and unwilling to support their city and its spending habits.
In the same paper is a story about Grand Junction’s new police chief, at a salary of $120,000 plus benefits plus a “contribution” to his former employer of $43,800 just because city officials are nice.
Not long ago, there was an article about the large number of free and reduced lunches in the schools and articles about high unemployment, tough times, etc. Yet Grant still supports increasing tax contributions from the dwindling number of people who are working.
I found an estimated average income in Grand Junction of $27,000. Not much wiggle room there, is there? I also read recently that soon more people will be receiving government benefits than are actually paying taxes.
It looks to me like we all need to reduce our consumption of (and the cost of) public services and start living within our means, before we end up with more serious problems than no flowers in the parks.
Homosexuality will lead to division in the military
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 of 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