Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The truly rational view of Mario Salazar on nuclear power should be a lesson on dispassionately assessing a technology (“Nuclear power: The case for a safe, alternative energy source,” Web, Dec. 28).

Mr. Salazar rightly observes that nuclear energy provides large amounts of power at very low risk compared to the real alternatives of burning gas, oil and coal, and much more reliably than alternatives like wind and solar.

Despite the accident last year at the Fukushima plant, we in the United States have come to the understanding that this incident was caused by an unbelievably massive natural occurrence. There are some lessons to learn from the event and the nuclear industry is already applying those lessons. None of those lessons, however, is that we should abandon nuclear power.

The plans for new plants in Georgia and Florida are proceeding, being followed by the possibility of other plants in Maryland and Texas. As a self-professed “bleeding heart liberal,” Mr. Salazar should be seated squarely in the anti-nuclear-power camp, but he isn’t. He has demonstrated how we can stop viewing technologies as good or evil and instead see their ability to serve us with an energy source that has the lowest economic cost and least environmental hazard.


Professor, nuclear engineering

Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute

University of Missouri-Columbia

Columbia, Mo.

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