Letters

Nuclear power's environmental and energy benefits questioned

Regarding the Aug. 10 article, "Nuclear power's green promise dulled by rising temps": Nuclear shutdowns due to sweltering heat aren't only a European phenomenon. Reactors in the American Midwest have failed this summer because of overheating as well. Nuclear plants require a huge amount of water for cooling, and with lower than normal US river levels – attributed to global warming – some plants couldn't take the heat. Nuclear power is increasingly (and wrongly) cited as a solution for our climate crisis, but reactors are becoming a victim of it.

In Europe and in the United States, nuclear power has no financial benefits over truly clean energy sources. One Department of Energy study finds offshore wind alone could meet all of our energy needs, while providing more jobs and energy per dollar invested than nuclear power. Elected officials and utilities the world over should look to renewable energy for our growing energy needs instead of dangerous and increasingly unreliable nuclear power.
Matthew Painter
Media relations director,
Network for New Energy Choices
New York

The contention in the Aug. 10 article on nuclear energy that Europe's latest heat wave is a reason to abandon nuclear energy ignores two fundamental points.

First, at a time when global decisionmakers are trying to reduce greenhouse gases, reducing our reliance on nuclear energy would remove the most widely expandable clean-air electricity source from our list of options. We need more energy options, not fewer.

As a result, greenhouse gas emissions would be far higher than today, not lower. In the United States, nuclear power is the largest source of electricity that does not emit greenhouse gases.

Second, there are a limited number of days when ambient temperatures have been high enough to cause concern about increased water temperatures in the sources that provide cooling water for nuclear power plants. On these days, the solution has been simple: Reduce power production to limit the use of water.

This practice also is used for other energy technologies that draw cooling water from lakes or rivers. Conversely, nuclear power plants continue to be reliable in the winter months when subzero temperatures can severely impact the transportation of fuel for other electricity options.
Scott Peterson
Vice president,
Nuclear Energy Institute
Washington

The strengths of America

Regarding the Aug. 16 article, "US economy's edge: entrepreneurs": I always firmly believed that the US is the most innovative and enterprising country in the world, made possible by the melting-pot policy that encourages minority ethnicities to retain their cultural identities. This concept will be especially important in the coming years when the minority and immigrant population is set to increase dramatically.

Allowing innovation and entrepreneurship to be the hallmark of harmony and unity among all Americans of diverse backgrounds allows them to work for a better future for the generations to come.

They will also continue to shape the national policy in promoting peace and the rightful and adequate use of all resources of the US, both tangible and intangible, and be a new force to be reckoned with in the global community.
King Lee
Selangor, Malaysia

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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