- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Disputing ‘huge costs of nuclear power’

Dr. Helen Caldicott has wildly twisted the facts about the cost of nuclear power (“Huge costs of nuclear power,” Op-Ed, May 21).

Unlike with coal, oil or natural gas, all of the costs for nuclear power are paid by the electric utility that runs the plant. It has to pay the full cost of enriched uranium for fuel, and companies have even bought fuel from Europe when U.S. prices were too high.

The companies must guarantee having the money for decommissioning the reactors at the end of their life, and the government has yet to pay a penny for that.

They have to pay into a fund for disposal of the used nuclear fuel, which has billions of dollars in it, and what is most frustrating, they still have to store their own fuel because the government has yet to open the disposal facility.

Finally, they have to pay for insurance, and only in extraordinary circumstances would the federal support kick in. For fossil fuels, a goodly part of the wastes end up in the air, and liability insurance is left up to the companies to worry about, or not.

Dr. Caldicott’s economics are skewed to undermine nuclear power just in case her medical fear-mongering fails. We deserve a better energy debate than that.


Professor of nuclear engineering

University of Maryland

College Park

I, too, am a physician, and unlike Dr. Helen Caldicott, I am trained in nuclear medicine and science. I therefore find her wild exaggerations particularly distressing. Dr. Caldicott weaves her tapestry of misrepresentations and scare tactics, ignoring the reality that there is realistically no way the dangerous materials she lists can arrive in our bodies in such large amounts. In fact, much greater potential risks are posed by the thousands of chemicals used safely in many millions of times larger quantities throughout our industrial society, but she does not bother making that comparison.

The first rule of medicine is “do no harm.” That rule is violated when exaggerated fears are promoted to the detriment of a nation that needs nuclear power for pollution-free domestic energy.


Chief, nuclear medicine

St. Barnabas Medical Center

Livingston, N.J.

Analyze this

Suzanne Fields’ analysis regarding the slandering of potential political appointees (“John Bolton and his discontents,” Op-Ed, May 16) on the basis of “mental health” approaches a subject I have been pursuing for years. In 1999, I wrote a best-seller, followed by numerous articles, to warn people how the same concept is operating in the nation’s schools.

With today’s advances in computer technology, and intimidation by school officials to administer psychotropic drugs to youngsters, we are fast approaching a day when the barest hint that someone might be mentally “unbalanced” (“paranoid,” etc.) will dash the victim’s hopes of an influential position.

The problem — elevating bogus clinical analysis to make a point about politics — is already pervasive on college campuses.

At first I was deemed “alarmist” when I explained how school surveys, curricula and even artwork were being scrutinized for mental illness under the umbrella of “hate,” intolerance” and other terms. However, when I speak to audiences today, I notice that even people who call themselves “centrist” and “liberal” are starting to get it. The politically correct, for example, have always assumed they’re considered mentally healthy.

They’re finding, to their horror, that “it ain’t necessarily so” as soon as they utter some unfortunate statement or anger somebody important. Suddenly, their mental health is called into question, which effectively ends the conversation — and maybe their careers.

Tremendous pressure already exists to drug those with inconvenient attitudes. Implants to “cure” mental illnesses are in the pipeline (“Implant aids nerve disorders,” Culture, et cetera, Tuesday). School questionnaires are stuffed with subtle but unmistakable nuances (if you know what to look for) to ascertain “risk factors” for mental illnesses.

No wonder Montgomery County sex educators felt confident they could get away with categorizing some religions (Baptist, for example) as intolerant. They found out differently, but no doubt will be back.

The point is, all this information on people is accessible if somebody cares to pursue it. As in the case of John Bolton, they simply will go back through computerized records and hunt for every word uttered or written, then string it all together to make the case.



Executive director

National Education Consortium


Stem the foreign invasion

Your story (“Report urges troops sent to the border,” Page 1, Monday) said that investigators for the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus urged that 36,000 soldiers from the National Guard or state militia be sent to our southern border.

I think that’s a great idea. But I suggest that states — particularly California, Texas and New Mexico — be asked whether they have enough troops to do this indefinitely, because that’s what it will take, and, if not, where those soldiers would come from.

Fox News has been on a tear to implement this strategy on the grounds that U.S. security is at risk from the south, albeit without evidence.

If this caucus report, certainly a report not requested by a full congressional committee, is the recommended strategy for the United States, then I’d suggest canvassing those elected governors who would be expected to come up with troops at a time that the Guard and Reserve is stretched by Iraq and when the case for indefinite deployments on our southern border is manifestly an emotional and partisan issue.


Canberra, Australia

The article on border patrols contains welcome news. This congressional report offers a realistic solution to stemming the illegal invasion of this country.

For the past three decades, U.S. immigration policy has been driven by two considerations: the desire for cheap labor; and ethnic-interest politics. President Bush and Congress have neither the desire nor the will to secure our borders, which would be in the best interests of the American people. State and local governments also have contributed to the conditions that make it possible for illegal aliens to roam freely in our society. In many locales, sanctuary locations exist where local police are not allowed to ask the immigration status of a suspected illegal alien.

The Minuteman Project destroyed the myth that illegal immigration cannot be stopped and exposed Border Patrol supervisors as mere puppets to Homeland Security. I don’t hold out much hope that the National Guard will be deployed to our borders.

President Bush has stated that it is “culturally and historically incorrect to close our borders.” Mr. Bush fails to realize that it is his sworn duty to protect our nation from foreign invasion.


Rochester Hills, Mich.

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