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Nuclear is not the energy future

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, PGE leveled the cooling tower at its controversial Trojan Nuclear Plant near Rainier in 2006 with a spectacular implosion. Letter writers weigh in on whether nuclear power is inevitable as a replacement for coal power.

I can't believe that Oregonians are beginning to think nuclear power would be a good thing (Should we head back to nuclear?, Dec. 10).

Hanford Nuclear Reservation, 250 miles up the Columbia River, still houses all of the World War II high-level nuclear waste in single-walled tanks that are leaking into the ground water at an alarming rate. Strontium 90 has already been detected in the Columbia River. Until that waste is cleaned up (U.S. Department of Energy now says it will be 22 more years), we would be fools to produce more that would add to the Western Hemisphere's worst superfund site.

Also, the Tribune did not mention the most viable alternative to coal-burning plants: distributed energy from individual homeowners and businesses who install solar and wind systems and feed the electricity back into the grid. Take the $6 billion dollars for one nuclear power plant and use it for subsidies instead. Portland General Electric doesn't have to build one huge plant; we can build our own house or neighborhood-scale units and sell it back to them.

House Bill 3039, which will be taken up in the Oregon Legislature's February session, would lay the ground work for this 'feed-in tariff' idea.

Nancy Matela

Southeast Portland

More nuclear options available

One thing that Oregon voters should understand as they discuss whether or not they should welcome construction of new nuclear power plants is that there are more options available today than there were in the recent past (Should we head back to nuclear?, Dec. 10). At Oregon State University, a research program developed a new reactor power system that can be built in a factory.

That research program evolved into a startup company called NuScale, which is diligently building the infrastructure that will enable it to build modular plants that each produce about 45 MW of electricity. That is far smaller than the massive plant at Trojan, but just like small servers can be combined in a 'server farm' to equal the computing power of a mainframe, a number of small reactors can be installed on a single site to produce the electrical generating power of a central station power plant.

The nice thing is that each module is an independent power generator, so a bit of power can start flowing soon after the site is developed, and once a number of modules are installed on-site, the chances that all of them have to be shut down at the same time is greatly reduced.

NuScale is not the only company with this concept, but it is close enough for Oregonians to visit and find out more.

Rod Adams

Annapolis, Maryland

Fossil fuels, nuclear are unsustainable

Comparing fossil fuels and nuclear power reminds me of the 1982 movie 'Sophie's Choice' (Should we head back to nuclear?, Dec. 10). Sophie (Meryl Streep), a Holocaust survivor, was forced to choose whether her daughter or son would die - or both. Fossil fuel produces air pollution and global warming. Nuclear power produces waste that will not go away and weapons proliferation. To quote my older son, 'Don't go there.'

There is another way: renewables, efficiency and sustainable living. These are not just nice alternatives; we have to make them work.

Jon Biemer

Southeast Portland

Think long term; have fewer children

No matter what we do, vegan, biking, ditching our refrigerator, talking about it - nothing will work without a population check. If the world is still averaging 3.7 children per couple, in two generations (40 years) there won't be room for cars or cows. Very simple.

As an engineer, I see nuclear as on its way to solving much of our issues, though it's only going to fix some of our problems - it won't clean up our rivers, reforest our clear-cuts or slow our landfill growth. And, by the way, 80 percent of the mercury in our Oregon air comes from China.

Eat a burger. Drive a hummer. Don't have more than two kids. Long-term ecological impact: cleaner.

Ken Shinn

Northeast Portland

PGE committed to energy efficiency

A recent letter to the editor regarding the sale of carbon credits under new cap-and-trade legislation missed one important point - Portland General Electric agrees that energy efficiency is a critical component of a national energy strategy (Regulations encourage innovation, Dec. 24).

Oregon is ahead of national policy and a leader in this area. PGE is strongly committed to capturing all cost-effective energy efficiency, and we plan to meet nearly half of our customers' increased electricity demand by 2020 through energy efficiency investments.

However, it can't happen overnight, and national carbon legislation will increase the cost of generating electricity. That's why we will continue to work with our customers to make investments in energy efficiency. It's the smart thing to do for Oregon's energy future.

Reuben Plantico

PGE environmental policy director

Southwest Portland

Dictate limits to protect future

'Live and let live' has become more complicated. Driving vs. bicycling may seem like a purely personal choice, but the cumulative effects of burning fossil fuels threaten the health and survival of your children and grandchildren (Biking won't justify meat eating, Dec. 10).

If we can 'dictate' speed limits and install stop signs at corners to save lives today, then we can 'dictate' limits on the use of dangerous chemicals to save lives tomorrow.

Matthew Miner

Northeast Portland

Van location questionable

In 16 years of driving past the Grace Lutheran School on Southeast 92nd, I have never seen a child (That flash means you've got a ticket, Dec. 3). Just north of that tiny private school, there is a larger public school and adjoining playground, where I regularly see children.

Several times I have seen the van and the speeding cameras positioned in front of Grace Lutheran, but never have I seen them positioned near the public school. What's wrong with this picture?

Donna Kossy

Southeast Portland

Camera tickets don't require work

These cops are too lazy to work, so they hide behind a bush and write camera tickets (That flash means you've got a ticket, Dec. 3). Just remember to vote no on anything that benefits them.

Dan Maher

Southeast Portland

School zones difficult to ID

In response to the article on the photo radar, my biggest beef is how hard it is sometimes to see the school zones (That flash means you've got a ticket, Dec. 3).

I think it would be a better idea to mark all school zones with a painted 'School Zone' sign on the pavement at the beginning of every school zone and also have rumble strips to alert drivers that they are entering these zones.

As an in-town commercial driver, I have been surprised that I have entered a school zone multiple times, even though I do pay attention.

There are so many things to pay attention to (on the road) that it is very easy to miss the posted school zone signs on a pole. By installing these pavement signs, it would greatly increase the number of drivers that conform to the speed limits in school zones.

After all, the intent is to reduce the speed of drivers for safety reasons, so why not make it easier to recognize these school zones?

Jim Martello

Southeast Portland

If you break law, pay the fine

Whine, whine, whine. (That flash means you've got a ticket, Dec. 3) As a driver, you are charged with obeying the traffic laws; speed zones are one of the basic laws you need to follow.

If you don't like to obey traffic laws, you are a danger to the rest of us and ought to join the bicycle brigade. You broke the law, so shut up and pay the fine.

Dennis Lively

Tualatin