Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Demo Leader Chopp says: Nuclear power will rise again

When Washington House leader Frank Chopp is in the Tri-Cities he likes nuclear power. How about with Seattle audiences? Seattle P-I:
Speaking in the Tri-Cities, where two partially built nuclear plants sit abandoned nearby at Hanford, state House Speaker Frank Chopp has raised the possibility that nuclear energy will again have a glowing future. Chopp predicted that nuclear power will be part of the solution to America's dependence on foreign oil, according to a report by the Tri-City Herald. But first, he said, public attitudes must change. "We have to be patient," said Chopp. "Most politicians are a little leery of the issue because some people are very emotional about it."
People are emotional about it because they have had the "worse than worst case" scenario drilled into their minds and emotions for 30 years. When people know the situation we can discuss nuclear on its true merits and side effects. Safety. Only two incidents in decades of operation of hundreds of plants have released radiation. At Three-Mile Island in Pennsylvania no one was killed and very little radiation was released. At Chernobyl firefighters were killed and radiation was released that has resulted in increased cancer deaths. But the Soviet Union had a track record of having no concern for the environment and for the health and safety of its people and built its reactors without containment shields that were used in the US. The interest of the state always came first. There are no other cases of radiation being released. Environment. Nuclear power emits no solid particles (air pollution) nor green-house gases. Disposal. The waste is solid and can be stored for a long time. The US has built an underground repository in Nevada for long-term storage. I think Chopp is right. Nuclear power does have a place. Say the same thing in Seattle, Mr. Speaker. Better yet, start the process of educating people on how nuclear power emits very few greenhouse gases, is economical to operate and its disposal problems have been conquered.

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