Nu­clear en­ergy is a non­starter

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Los­ing a source of low­car­bon en­ergy?” Busi­ness, July 10

The main rea­son the nu­clear in­dus­try is “at risk of col­lapse” is be­cause there is no sus­tain­able an­swer to the nu­clear waste prob­lem, which was not men­tioned one time in this ar­ti­cle. Talk about ig­nor­ing the ele­phant sit­ting in the mid­dle of the room.

Un­til the waste is­sue is per­ma­nently and ad­e­quately re­solved, no one should re­fer to the nu­clear in­dus­try as “one of our best weapons in our fight against cli­mate change.” Joel Anderson

Stu­dio City

Nu­clear re­ac­tors may be de­signed by bril­liant en­gi­neers, but for op­er­a­tors, there are years of bore­dom in­ter­spersed with mo­ments of ter­ror. Even­tu­ally the bean-coun­ters hire Homer Simp­son and cut cor­ners.

We can’t af­ford nu­clear power be­cause the max­i­mum probable loss is unin­sur­able. If an earth­quake or tsunami takes out Di­ablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County, will op­er­a­tor Pa­cific Gas and Elec­tric pay for the dam­age? Of course not.

So we will make it work with so­lar, wind and bat­ter­ies. Steve Har­ring­ton


The vice pres­i­dent of nu­clear tech­nolo­gies and ma­te­ri­als at Gen­eral Atomics is quoted as say­ing: “The re­al­ity is you can­not ac­tu­ally re­place 20% of the need with wind and so­lar, un­less you want to wall­pa­per ev­ery square inch of many states.”

Here’s the ac­tual re­al­ity: Us­ing 2016 data for Cal­i­for­nia, I found that uti­liz­ing only one-eighth of 1% of Cal­i­for­nia’s agri­cul­tural land for so­lar would make up for the loss of nu­clear en­ergy.

The com­ing years will be chal­leng­ing as the state moves to sources of low­car­bon en­ergy. We will need to think care­fully and clearly about how to do this. Fear­mon­ger­ing sound-bites from the en­ergy in­dus­try are not go­ing to help us get there. Daniel Snow­den-Ifft

South Pasadena The writer is a physics pro­fes­sor at Oc­ci­den­tal Col­lege who headed that school’s re­cent so­lar en­ergy project.

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