The headline on the opinion piece by conservative activist Jim Fossel (March 20) extolled nuclear power as “key to energy independence.” In his text, Fossel dealt only with rosy promises that go back to the days of Walt Disney’s “Our Friend the Atom.”

Fossel did not mention any of the challenges nuclear power faces: not the environmental concerns, not the economic realities, not safety experience highlighted in this country by one stuck valve rendering a brand-new billion-dollar plant in Pennsylvania a smoldering heap nor major catastrophes in Ukraine and Japan. He did not address short and long-lived contamination by nuclear wastes, from mining, then milling, through to the unresolved issues of site contamination and eventual (maybe) ultimate disposal of high-level “spent” fuel.

He didn’t address nuclear proliferation concerns: see North Korea, Israel, South Africa and Iran for examples of blurring the civilian/military distinction.

He brought up support by governments of the world for some renewable energy projects, but ignored totally the government roles underpinning every nuclear program in the world.

Centrally, Fossel was holding out “energy independence” as a goal for all. A Google search might have shown him where he could find the world’s large reserves and significant production of uranium. As with petroleum, the U.S. has some of its own, but leading the pack are these five: Kazakhstan; France (with production operations in Canada, Africa, the U.S. and Kazakhstan); a nominally “Canadian” company called Uranium One which is owned and controlled by Rosatom, the Russian state corporation; China; and Uzbekistan.

Trading dependence on one unstable and dangerous resource for another is hardly progress. A conservative perspective should make that obvious.

 

Jim Perkins

Wayne

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