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Dear Editor:

I was somewhat surprised that someone had bothered to read my letter on nuclear energy, I was not surprised the letter writer was again it.

The writer states, “Nobody knows what to do with nuclear waste.” Most of my old buddies at Sandia National Laboratory would disagree with this statement. They would suggest burying nuclear waste under Yucca Mountain. Sandia was responsible for the engineering of the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Under the Obama administration, funding for Yucca Mountain was terminated. The GAO stated that the closure was for “political, not technical or safety reasons.”

I believe it disingenuous to scare people with statements such as nuclear waste will survive 10,000 years and mislead them with statements like … sunlight, “delivered free to your door every morning.”

Radiation exposure is a complex technical issue. However, I do not believe adding a nuclear component to the grid will result in everybody glowing in the dark.

The sunlight may be free, electricity generated from sunlight is definitely not free. I am a believer in solar energy, for some people solar panels will make sense. For nearly everybody, solar heating is a cost-effective option. I would hate to tell a farmer how many hundred solar panels it will take to run his 440 volt 3 phase 100 hp irrigation pump.

The environmental and economic costs of producing nuclear fuel rods, glass and semi-conductor materials for solar panels, drilling and fracking for gas, mining and burning coal, building windmills as compared to the economic benefits associated with such activities are beyond the ability and interest of this old man. Sadly, the extremists on the far right (climate change is a hoax) and the far left (the sun and wind are all that is needed) dominate the conversation on national energy policy. Even sadder, none of them know what they are talking about and their politics render them unteachable.

Bob Dungan


This story was posted on July 18, 2013.