Editorials

“The only thing ‘green’ about nuclear power is the cost” by Ed Haffmans

Touting nuclear power (New Green?” May 19) as an alternative to global warming and oil is shortsighted, greed-driven and wrong. When the fossil fuel consumption of the nuclear fuel cycle, including mining, refining, transport, plant construction, shielding, waste disposal, terrorism protection, and capacity factor over the life of the plant are considered, nuclear is a marginal net energy source and substantial greenhouse contributor. The only “green,” apart from the glow when things go terribly wrong, is the money lining the pockets of former Greenpeace sell-out Patrick Moore and his ilk.

Pseudoenvironmentalist Moore, through his “Greenspirit Strategies Ltd.,” is a paid corporate shill for a host of big-business anti-environment causes.

In the long run, a rethinking of our wasteful lifestyles and various forms of solar energy, which the United States receives more of in just one hour than our entire annual energy consumption, are our only options. Fossil fuels are merely stored solar energy. Uranium is also limited.

Any system that lives on savings while discarding income is doomed to extinction.

Solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, tidal power, and radically improved efficiency remain trivial because our rulers prefer oil wars, nukes and corrupt cronies. Nuclear power has been subsidized to the tune of $150 billion since its inception, 30 times that of all renewables combined. It gets a free ride on insurance that would not be available on the free market. Yet the last nuclear plant built in the United States took 23 years to build and cost $8 billion. For that sum, 1KW grid tied to photovoltaic solar electric systems could be installed on nearly a million American homes, or 8,000 one-megawatt wind turbines could be built way more quickly. Money wasted on nuclear power is money not spent on safe, clean and truly carbon-free alternatives. Imagine if the $300 billion wasted so far on the Iraq oil war could have been spent on conservation and renewables.

Some European countries are getting 20 percent of their electricity from wind (Denmark), subsidizing biodiesel (Germany), requiring solar water heat on new construction (Spain), and outstripping us in all renewables. PV panels are terrorism proof, replace the energy of manufacture in 6-12 months of use, and last indefinitely.

It’s time to replace the corrupt politicians who are shoving nukes and $3 gas down our throats with more folks like U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey and U.S. Senate candidate Jonathan Tasini, who back an Apollo-type program for homegrown terrorism-proof energy independence. And if Demublicans and Republicrats can’t do it, maybe it’s time to give the Green Party a chance.

Ed Haffmans lives in Accord.

To view the complete editorial, search the archives at the link below:

http://www.recordonline.com/

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