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Facts--not diatribes--are needed in nuclear-power debate
Objections to the Yucca Mountain project fail to mention that commercial nuclear operators have paid, and continue to pay, billions of dollars to a fund to store and dispose of spent nuclear fuel.
Much of the delay and final costs of the project can be attributed to the frivolous lawsuits filed by extremist groups such as the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, for which Calta is a board member.
After working in the management of spent nuclear fuel for nearly a decade, I am confident that it can be transported and disposed of safely. If citizens revolt, as Calta suggests, it will be when they realize that the problem of final disposition is political, not technical.
And Calta's windmills? Sixty thousand of the most advanced windmills operating under the best conditions in the most suitable areas would occupy more than 1.3 million acres of land and would equate to less than 10 percent of our nation's current electricity production.
Furthermore, his cost estimate for windmills does not take into account that backup power sources must be built and maintained to compensate for wind power's low-capacity factors.
That's not to say that we shouldn't build wind farms where feasible, but even the American Wind Energy Association has concluded that under the best of circumstances, wind energy could supply only about 6 percent of our nation's electricity by the year 2020.
Should citizens raise their concerns regarding new nuclear power plants and energy policy? Certainly. But we can't have a fair debate without proper perspective.
LISA SHELL is vice president of North American Young Generation in Nuclear, a group of individuals aged 35 and younger who work in the fields of nuclear science and technology.