- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As the nuclear events unfold in Japan, they not only fail to reveal a cascading crisis, but they represent a favorable confirmation of the viability of nuclear power (“Exodus from Tokyo begins,” Page 1, Wednesday). Japan has just undergone seismic events with minimal consequences.

Japan is not the Soviet Union, and its plant casualties have no relation to Chernobyl. The Chernobyl plant was of a type that has long been abandoned by the world. The fact that the test process went awry is in keeping with such an antiquated plant and the casual Soviet attitude toward safety. For example, Soviet nuclear-powered navy ships were designed to produce superheated steam by passing steam generated outside containment vessels back through reactor cores. Our Navy considered this practice highly imprudent.

Even in the worst-case scenario, nuclear power plants do not explode like atomic weapons, but can only release proportionately infinitesimal amounts of alpha particles through explosions of hydrogen gas. The particles would be lethal in ground water contamination, if containment and monitoring plans were not already in place for such unusual events.

We must not be scared away from investing in nuclear power. It is our only alternative to fossil fuels and hydro for large quantities of energy.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.