Belcastro, Frank

As long as there are nuclear power plants operating in this country, there will be high-level nuclear waste that cannot be moved to any ultimate storage facility and cannot be safely stored. Deadly radioactive waste is piling up at reactor sites across the country, with no environmentally-responsible means of disposal and no solutions in sight.

Canadians must realize that most reactors will soon reach their age limil and that they are accidents waiting to happen. In the United States, the nuclear industry has been challenged to come up with a solution to nuclear waste; to date, they have not been able to do so because there is no solution to the problem except not to produce anymore. Consider the partial meltdown and radiation disaster at Three Mile Island (TMI) near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (USA) in early 1979. In 1980, Pennsylvania State Health Department authorities reported a sharp rise in hypothyroidism in newborn infants in the three counties downwind from the reactor. Late in 1979, four times as many infants as normal were born with the disease. In the county where TMI is located, infant deaths soared 53.7 percent in the first month after the accident; 27 percent in the first year. Best to phase out nuclear plants.

There are three reasons for not having nuclear power plants.

First, they are unnecessary; hundreds of people who study the subject closely have been confirming that a rational combination of energy conservation and alternative renewable energy technologies can give us far more power than nuclear at far less cost and risk.

Second, in purely economic terms, nukes are a horrendous investment because no reactor can be guaranteed not to melt nor can any be protected from earthquakes and terrorism and no lending agency is willing to invest in them and no insurance company is willing to take the risk.

Third, there is a moral reason: if people in Chernobyl are still dying from the long-term effects 23 years later, why take the risk of an explosion?

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