Re: “Small, modular reactors for Hanford?” (editorial, 1-7).
Here they come again, the nuclear power profiteers with a new “product,” a miniaturized power plant whose primary “new” attribute is “safety.” I believe we’ve heard that promise before, and it didn’t quite pan out at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. No deaths due to radiation at Fukushima? Not yet; wait a decade or two and see.
Meanwhile, what we do have at both Chernobyl and Fukushima are “exclusion” (read dead) zones. The dead zone around Chernobyl extends to 2,600 kilometers. We might hope that the dead zone from Fukushima doesn’t eventually include a big chunk of the northern Pacific Ocean.
Now Japan, Germany and other forward-thinking countries are scrambling to get out of the nuclear power business altogether. They have wisely decided it’s just not worth it.
That nuclear power does not directly create greenhouse gases does not negate the fact that it is the dirtiest fuel of all. No good answer has ever been found for what to do with nuclear waste. As bad as coal is, it does not leave “exclusion” zones when things go terribly awry – as they eventually will when such complex and dangerous technology is mass produced and sent hither and yon.
Let’s just say no to profiteers playing around with the world’s most dangerous substance. In this age of cheap natural gas and rapidly expanding wind and solar energy, and until the wisdom of our species exceeds our greed, let’s leave potentially disastrous nuclear fusion where it belongs: on the sun.