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Putting the nuclear hype into perspective

Dear Editor:

The earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan these last two weeks could be the best thing to ever happen to the nuclear Industry ever.

But let me digress. During the last two weeks of the Japanese disaster, 1,308 (N.H.S.I.) U.S. citizens died on the highways, but we still drive our cars and trucks. During that same two-week period 263 people were murdered (FBI) in the USA, but we still go about our daily activities.

It is claimed that 330,000 Americans die of tobacco-related cause per year, so in the two weeks of the Japanese disaster, 12,692 Americans died of this self-inflicted addiction.

CNN recently reported that the EPA is proposing new restrictions on mercury and air toxins released from U.S. power plants. The EPA claims, I quote, “the pollution control methods are expected to prevent 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks.” They also added that it would help to eliminate 10,000 cases of childhood asthma. Still tens of millions of Americans continue to live down wind of coal burning electrical plants that are a major contributor of acid rain, and CO2 pollution.

Tens of millions of American continue to live in the Tornado Belt of the U.S., and its resulting death and destruction. We have been told many times that the earthquake probability of Los Angles are not if but when, and we continue to live there. Do you fly on airplanes?

Here is the final kick in the balls: American Scientific reports, “Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: The waste produced by coal plants are actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant – a by-product from burning coal for electricity – carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.”

On the other side of the coin is the nuclear electrical plants in the USA. There are 102 commercial nuclear plants, and about 50 more nuclear reactors in private business and universities at this time in the USA. They are as old as 40 to 50 years old. We get 20 percent of our electrical power in the U.S. from nuclear plants. Total deaths, zero!

As of Jan 19, 2011, 30 countries have a total of 442 nuclear power plants were producing electrical power. France gets 85 percent of its electrical power from nuclear plants!

Bottom line is that we now know what the worst possible nuclear disaster is and as a result we can make an informed decision on the potential risk. We will learn from the Japanese two-fisted punch of a 9.0 earthquake plus a 33-foot tsunami and make all our nuclear plants that much safer.

After this Chicken Little, “the sky is falling” media frenzy is over, I predict that the number of nuclear plants built worldwide will increase exponentially worldwide.

Ted Bristol

Carbondale


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