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Your Opinion: Response on nuclear power

Your Opinion: Response on nuclear power

April 9th, 2011 by Tony Smith, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Should I be gratified that Harold Horstmann takes such an interest in my thoughts? As usual Mr. Horstmann fails to do any of his homework.

His recent letter of April 1 could be mistaken for an April Fool's joke but I suspect he is serious. He tries to cover two bases simultaneously. His arguments are fortified by wishful thinking. This is particularly true of his comments on tax policy. He cites zero sources, has no coherent position except he is on to something and others are wrong. After saying nothing of any substance he incants: God Bless America. I guess that about covers that topic.

The real thrust of Mr. Horstmann's letter is he worked at the Callaway plant and assures us that nuclear energy is swell. This is like asking the bank clerk who cashes my check if I should buy stock in their bank. This is like Sarah Palin claiming some foreign policy credentials because Russia is so darn close to Alaska. If this is your standard for credibility, there are no standards.

But wait, Mr. Horstmann says I am right that private capital will not invest in nuclear energy. In fact, public companies will not even insure nuclear plants. Only government using our public money will do that. Horstmann says that is because our government requires those pesky safety standards. I guess being safe is too darned expensive!

Three major nuclear incidents have happened in my life time. Swedish Nobel physicist Hannes Alfvén says about nuclear, "No acts of God can be permitted." That is the standard for nuclear as no other source of energy.

Rebel journalist I.F. Stone famously said, "All governments lie!" I share some weird kinship with Mr. Horstmann on this but not because I believe in a far out conspiracy theory. The fact is that we need a separation of government and business. The BP catastrophe in the Gulf has been shielded from scientific study by a collusion of the government and BP. The problems of nuclear energy have also been glossed over by the world's governments.

There have been near misses in the nuclear industry not reported in the mainstream press. The vulnerability to terrorist attacks and problems with spent fuel are far from solved. The cost of nuclear is prohibitive. America could offset much of its energy needs by a greater commitment to energy conservation.