Back on July 30, the LA Times ran an op-ed from Colby College history professor Paul Josephson entitled, The Mirage of Nuclear Energy. Like so much we read about the industry through the eyes of anti-nuke activists like Josephson, it read like a laundry list from a long-forgotten time.
Today, the newspaper finally got around to running some dissenting viewpoints. Here's one letter from Times reader Joe Vitti:
Paul Josephson should first check with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to see how farfetched his arguments are about the "mirage" of nuclear power. The lowest cost clean power (10%) delivered to the customers of the city of L.A. is from the Palo Verde Nuclear Power facility in Arizona. He speaks of the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents that occurred almost 30 years ago but does not mention the 103 nuclear reactor plants that have been operating safely and economically throughout the U.S. for 40-plus years, providing up to 20% of the power in some East Coast states. He writes about the French experience but fails to mention that it has the cheapest energy costs and the cleanest air in Europe -- 85% of its power is from nuclear facilities, and it also exports electricity to its neighbors. He comments about nuclear aircraft but fails to mention the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered ships and submarines that have operated without problems throughout the world for decades. It is unfortunate that a teacher of history would be so irresponsible in his assessment of the industry.And here's another from Devon Showley:
Josephson -- not a nuclear engineer or scientist but a historian -- warns us that the sky is falling and nuclear energy is the cause. France (what does it know that we don't?) now has nearly 90% of its electrical energy produced by controlled fission reactors -- not by oil or coal, which, unlike reactors, increase the greenhouse gases by huge amounts and cause pollution. Certainly our oil supplies from the Middle East are problematic. For nearly four decades, France has gotten more than two-thirds of its electrical energy from reactors -- with not one accident. If the French can do it, why can't we? It can be done here. Oui.