We have posted features on nuclear power – reader comments aren’t yet possible on our features – and we’ve received several emails reacting to these stories. Two of these features were “Nuclear Power – Cleanest & Coolest Choice?” and “India’s Nuclear Power.” Here is an email just received from a reader in France:
|Three Mile Island (photo: EPA)
Table of World’s Nuclear Reactors
List of “Nuclear Club” Nations
“Dear Editor: To me it is amazing somebody promoting an “EcoWorld” should have the gall to pretend “the US desperately needs to become more like France” meaning they should produce more nuclear electricity as this (but maybe you don’t know it) bypasses two major issues :
1. France as only a tiny country on a world map, is the third producer in the whole world of death weapons, of which nuclear weapons represent a rising percentage, nuclear weapons produced from the enriched uranium and plutonium produced by France’s oh so wonderful and civil nuclear power plants!!! (not even to mention the dictatorial system which keeps all nuclear related information top secret under defense policy, just to show how very harmless and civil it is!!!)
2. Not a single person, be they laymen or specialists, have a clue as yet of how to manage the waste generated by the numerous nuclear plants in France of which many are already obsolete and therefore even more dangerous (aside from the risks linked to accidents, earthquakes and terrorist attacks) and not a single politician has the faintest idea where they’ll find the money for the horrendously high cost of dismantling the old, i.e. obsolete plants.
I take it that you have the solution so would you please make it available to French Government Officials? This will allow many French citizens to, at last, feel safe and thrilled about their nuclear program!
Maybe someone editing for Ecoworld should at least go to the trouble of finding out what ecology is about! If you truly and sincerely believe that consuming more and more, jumping at every new fad, presenting cursory and fallacious solutions to the world energy problem is it, then we can all rest assured: the Planet Earth IS already lost. ”
And here is our response:
“First of all, I probably will not change your mind. You have the tone of someone who passionately believes their position. Second, I didn’t say “the US desperately needs to become more like France,” referring to nuclear power. One of our contributing writers, Dr. Ed Wheeler wrote that. Sometimes Dr. Wheeler can be a bit sure of himself. My apologies for that. We encourage all credible viewpoints, and Dr. Wheeler’s arguments are well reasoned.
In any event, I totally agree with your comments regarding the French nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific. Thankfully they are no longer blowing up the Moorea atoll. That was a terrible mistake.
Where we disagree, I regret, is regarding the overall future of nuclear power. I do think there are safer technologies available now, and I think the new upgraded plants can be built on the same sites as the old plants. I think the waste can be safely stored in caves. In the US we have constructed the Yucca Mountain complex, and I think it is plenty safe in there. Please bear in mind in the years to come we’ll learn all kinds of even better ways to process waste, and if there are problems, we can go in and clean it up.
Before you are so certain nuclear is the worst energy choice possible, consider what we have done to the rainforests to grow biofuel. This is well documented, and it is an utter catastrophe. The loss of what is now 60% of our planet’s tropical forests may be a bigger factor in climate change than CO2. I would rather have nuclear power than biofuel from rainforests.
Please accept this one statement: I am very concerned about the environment of our planet. I just don’t automatically believe everything I’m told. I do my own research. You know, in one way, we might be experiencing very similar emotions. You are upset, probably, because the concern about global warming is leading people – thoughtlessly you may feel – to take another look at nuclear power. I am upset because the concern about global warming has overridden concern for the rainforests – in the name of biofuel.
Thank you for your email. I respect your opinions.”