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July 21, 2014
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Letter: Should we offset global warming by using nuclear energy?

An alternative to fossil fuels

If global warming is the existential danger to civilization claimed by so many, I’d like to offer some thoughts for consideration.

1. Nuclear energy has the potential to provide vast quantities of power without producing C02 or other greenhouse gasses.

2. Every year the U.S. and other countries produce many ships powered by nuclear reactors because they’re tactically superior. If these reactors are safe enough to install for a mere fighting advantage, shouldn’t they be safe enough to consider for use on a larger scale to help curb climate change?

3. While the U.S. does next to nothing in the nuclear area, China, India, South Korea and other important C02-emitting countries are now building dozens of reactors to help do their fair share to curb greenhouse gasses.

4. Even President Obama has expressed his support for nuclear power. (“We supported the first new nuclear power plants in three decades.” This quote comes from a Miami speech on energy policy, Feb. 23, 2012.)

By any objective standard, non-nuclear efforts have fallen far short of addressing C02 issues. It has been nearly 25 years since Al Gore first published “Earth in the Balance” and U.S. production of wind, solar, and geothermal energy combined now represent about 2 percent of our country’s total energy production. We’re currently producing more fossil fuel than at any time in America’s history. Despite all of our efforts, the rate at which we’re adding C02 to the atmosphere has been increasing, not decreasing.

If man-caused climate change is a minor problem, I might concede the drawbacks of fission and consider taking a pass on nuclear energy. However, if warming poses the threat to life on earth that some claim, then doesn’t nuclear energy become an increas­ingly rational part of the solution?

Roger Shaffer


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The News-Review Updated Jul 29, 2014 09:00AM Published Jul 21, 2014 12:54PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.