• Nuclear waste isn’t green
    July 02,2013
     

    Nuclear waste isn’t green

    In his letter “Keep Yankee” Guy Page uses the standard “nuclear is green” claim as if carbon was all there was to it.

    Green, like “free,” in this country is not what it is claimed to be. It makes all the sense in the world to remove a 40-year-old nuclear power station that is at the end of its life cycle as defined by the original specifications of the engineers who built it.

    When an old carbon-spewing car is at the end of its life it is replaced without hesitation. The potential damage from that one car is not even on the scale of potential damage that a nuclear power station can cause, and yet people don’t hesitate to claim it is needed. Even claim the risk is not real. After all, we have not had “the big one” yet. Well, California has not had the “big one” yet, but you can be sure it is coming. Why not eliminate the nuclear power stations? Money!

    Corporate America makes big money off these power stations. Nuclear power corporate welfare makes the welfare program assisting people in this country pale. The cost overhead of $18.87 per kilowatt to store nuclear waste at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state verifies that. That waste site costs $2 billion annually; the combined power of nuclear in this country is 106 gigawatts. Hanford represents only one-third of the waste budget allocated to nuclear waste.

    As for filling a gas tank with heating oil, filling a diesel’s gas tank with heating oil will work just fine. You must compare technologies properly if you want to replace one with another.

    Base load produces power whether it is needed or not. You can’t just fire up nuclear, coal or gas because a few extra kilowatts are needed. That is why wind is required to power down so the base load production can continue without overloading the grid. The issue is not what source produces the power, it is how to have the power available when the demand is there. I cited microgrid as one of many options that are in the mill.

    The green energy paradigm is in its infancy. Storing solar power in something besides batteries is evolving rapidly. The natural world gets by just fine with intermittent power available. When we figure out how to do that with our insatiable demand for power we too will be able to live off the power of the sun.

    An area 1.3 times the size of the city of Barre. So what? That waste site in the state of Washington covers an area which equals about 6 percent of the state of Vermont.

    Vermont Yankee is not going to contribute one added kilowatt to that threefold increase you cite. Keeping it contributes, every 18 months, to the ever-growing radioactive waste problem. Radioactive waste is a problem that has had no solution for over 60 years now and is not likely to ever get a satisfactory solution.

    Moving forward with green energy is exactly how we will develop the reliable alternative. Getting it up and running will not be an overnight deliverable any more than the national power grid was. At one time all the electricity used in this country came from one power generation station, Niagara Falls, N.Y. Demand grew and so did the sources. It will again if you have enough foresight to believe in this country’s ability to meet what is demanded of it as our previous generations did.

    The bath water Vermont Yankee is already throwing out and it is 100 degrees. The fish and the Connecticut River will do just fine without it, and so will we.

    Shut down Vermont Yankee now and mandate Entergy pay the decommissioning and radioactive waste cleanup cost.

    Alfred S. Blakey

    Barre

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