Nuclear energy option

The opinion-page article ``Reinvent Federal Energy Policy, Too,'' Jan. 5, is on target regarding the inadequacy of the United States' national energy policy. The author emphasizes energy conservation, but does not give the existing program due credit. Conservation only minimizes energy needs; it doesn't provide for new requirements.

With respect to renewable resources, the author mentions no specifics, implying that these are easy solutions. Renewables consist primarily of direct solar, which is expensive; biomass, which requires large land areas; and geothermal, which requires extensive drilling and disturbance of geological formations. These should be developed, but they are not easy or ideal answers to energy problems. Nuclear energy, which provides over 20 percent of electric energy, is listed in the article as polluting, but commercial plants have an excellent record. Nuclear energy can meet a substantial fraction of future needs, particularly if breeder reactors are available. I personally favor the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor for its excellence in safety, environmental impact, and flexibility in application.

We need a well balanced energy program to relieve our overdependence on fossil fuels. Donald B. Trauger, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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