From: Russell D. Hoffman
September 20th, 2000
To The Editor:
Over the years, your paper has published some great fiction in support of nuclear power, but never any so great as Mary L. Walker's revisionist account of the historic reasons for the current energy crises, and her offering of the standard Department of Energy party line solutions -- coal and nuclear.
For example her description of so-called "clean-coal technologies" is inaccurate. She is not describing any currently available coal technology that is "clean" at all, merely something a little less dirty than older coal-based energy technologies. Walker's expectations for future Zero Emission coal plants are high but utterly unproven. Furthermore, the idea that some "inert mineral" can simply be "permanently sequestered underground" is too vague to ensure safety, based on numerous scientific principals and historic failures.
But given the facts, the world can make its own decisions. There most certainly ARE clean energy solutions available. This planet is, in fact, a garden of energy. The public should have invested (presumably through DoE, our investment decision-making organization, who have thus far made incredibly unwise decisions) more heavily in clean, renewable, sustainable energy technologies during the past few decades. That way, right now we would have those solutions solving our energy crises, without drastic measures, environmental damage, or the rampant censorship of truth that has come with the nuclear solution. And we would have these benefits along with much lower and more steady prices.
Instead we have relied and continue to rely on dangerous and dirty technologies, mostly from foreign suppliers. We have used oil as if there is an endless supply, and we have relied on the simplest solutions whenever possible -- coal, oil, and nuclear. The "quick and dirty" solution may indeed have been quick, but it was incredibly dirty.
Walker's claim that "nuclear power companies have managed waste from power plants safely for many years and have a good safety record in the U.S." is preposterous and would be laughable if it wasn't so deadly in its potential. In fact, nuclear power companies have MISmanaged that waste; it is right now the most dangerous thing near any major city in America (and there are over 100 pools of that waste scattered around the country; one near every nuclear power plant). The spent fuel pools are the most dangerous thing, the most vulnerable, the most polluted industrial waste sites of any sort anywhere. And they generate no wealth for society whatsoever, and there is no known solution as to where to put the waste so it stops actually costing us money to watch over it. And the pools occasionally leak. This is Walker's so-called "solution"?
And let's talk about -- let's at least mention (since the Union-Tribune could not possibly spare the space to discuss the full issue, could they?) -- the realistic yet virtually unused sustainable, renewable, clean energy solutions to the problem.
Wind-based energy solutions can provide a far greater percentage of the solution than they have, if only there was significant government investment in them, like the billions that have been poured into developing and then propping up nuclear power. Likewise its time to put the solar panels back on the White House in Washington, and on every other local, state, and federal building. Other clean energy solutions include geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, wave, tide, Ocean Thermal Gradient, space-based solar, and other solutions which, if all taken together could supply us with orders-of-magnitude more energy than we actually need. We merely need to make the effort to implement not one or two of these solutions, but ALL of them, each in its proper place and configuration.
A sustainable energy solution is a mix of all known beneficial technologies and none of the known dangerous and deadly ones. Nuclear doesn't fit in, and nor does even the cleanest coal plant. But instead of supporting sustainable energy solutions, DoE, and Mary L. Walker, a lawyer who used to work for DoE, promote just these two old and deadly solutions to the so-called oil crises.
Her description of the energy drought having its roots in the 70s is incomplete, if not incompetent. In the middle of the 20th century -- in the wake of World War Two's successful nuclear conclusion -- America was sold a "bill of goods" known as nuclear energy -- the so-called peaceful atom. The bill? Well, there wasn't supposed to be one, because it was supposed to be energy which was "too cheap to meter".
But we have not been freed from energy bills, which have recently nearly tripled for citizens of San Diego, and which have gone up steadily ever since nuclear power was introduced. Instead we have been saddled forever with the debt of numerous nuclear Super-fund environmental waste sites, which even the DoE has stated in a recent report, cannot ever be expected to be returned to a state which is fit for human habitation. We've lost that land forever. But how much land? The toll can only go up.
A 747 which manages to miss crashing into a nuclear power plant -- which obviously would cause a disaster on the scale of Chernobyl -- but instead crashes into the spent fuel pool next to the plant, would actually create a disaster of even larger proportions! Similar disasters could be caused by an asteroid (unlikely yes, but hardly impossible), or even by a simple thing like an extended breakdown of the pumps which circulate the water in the spent fuel pool. And all nuclear facilities are at risk in any war. This is not safe energy. This is not a good use of available technology. This does not reflect a proper national investment in human capabilities to solve critical problems. This is not working.
There are solutions which are available to humanity, and only a unified public stand on the issues will accomplish the job of providing clean energy for all. Right now a third of the planet has never turned on a light-switch -- how many thousands of new nuclear power plants and coal plants would we need to build so all of them can have light too? We MUST find and use sustainable solutions! That will only happen when the facts are known by all.
Large segments of the public are unlikely to ever again endorse the dangerous and failed nuclear technology your newspaper backs, including by publishing only like viewpoints as "opinion", such as that of Mary L. Walker. I hope that you will not censor these comments, and will allow the alternative viewpoint equal space to discuss these important issues.
Our citizen's health and our nation's wealth depend on it.
Concerned Citizen, Activist
Petition against nuclear energy, for sustainable energy:
Peace Activist, Environmentalist, High Tech Guru:
Founder and Editor of the Stop Cassini newsletter:
Learn the madness of NASA's ongoing nuclear policies! Visit the Stop Cassini web site:
Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here:
What is a half-life? (Compares Plutonium 238 to Plutonium 239)
What is the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)? Is nuclear war winnable?
Hug a tree! Read why it should matter to you what happens to the great Redwoods in California:
Why you need encryption: An interview with Phil Zimmerman:
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