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In the Interest of Uranium Miners

Of course, the increased interest in nuclear energy excites attention in parts of the United States where mining represents a substantial share of the local economy. An editorial in The Mountain Mail ("The Voice of Salida and the Upper Arkansas Valley" - Salida is in southern Colorado) supports nuclear energy from exactly this viewpoint:

In southern Utah, uranium mining firms are quietly pursuing mining claims on federal lands.

Just west of Marshall Pass in Saguache County, a Seattle company took control of mineral rights near the former Pitch uranium mine, which operated in the early 1980s but closed shortly thereafter.

The stone of the nuclear renaissance produces interesting ripples.

On a different note, the editorial notes that the Democratic presidential candidates (and Nader, of course) have downplayed nuclear energy and comes close to taunting them for it.

The candidates would rather promise increased ethanol production as a means of reducing reliance on foreign oil. They fail to mention the subsequent increases in costs for everything from bread to milk and hamburger - which Americans are already seeing at grocery stores.

It's all more good news, of course, if you're Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. Among other oil exporting countries, they no doubt are laughing on their way to their banks.

The language here is troubling, especially the talk radio tactic of creating demons to personalize an argument, but it's an interesting change in rhetoric. The quiet defense of nuclear energy found in most editorials and op-eds contends here with muscular, even aggressive, language. Depending on one's perspective, this approach either broadens the discussion beyond establishing the bona fides of nuclear energy or bypasses logical argument in favor of a visceral response.


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Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…