Future Benefits of Funding Nuclear Research

Regarding the front-page article "Russian Nuclear Accident: A Sign of Things to Come?," April 9: The Russian nuclear-weapons reprocessing plant accident appears to not threaten lives or the environment. Yet it underscores the urgency for aid to the Soviet republics to improve and, in some cases, shut down defense and commercial facilities.

Although some aid has already begun to flow to the East, it must be substantially larger, including funds and direct grants of equipment. The nuclear defense facilities need to be shut down, and the only way to do that is to provide Russia with real incentives - including support so that displaced nuclear defense workers can get jobs in the civilian nuclear power industry. It is either help the East or risk losing this important industry to public reaction or to an accident. Theodore M. Besmann, Oak Ridge, Tenn. Research Group Leader Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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