The comments made by Jan Holt (Letters, Herald, Sept. 22) need some corrections and a different point of view. Nuclear plants with their zero carbon emissions certainly can be brought online fast enough to alleviate climate change. Isn’t the objective to achieve 25 percent renewable electricity by 2025? That’s 16 years from now, and nuclear plants can be brought online in six to eight years. They could be built sooner except for excessive government regulations and the delays created in obtaining licenses by minority opposition groups.
The government could correct both these problems if it wished. Funding nuclear plants is not a waste of time, and there are no more taxpayer dollars involved than with renewable energy plants. Nuclear plants are financed primarily by utility companies. Solar, wind and other renewables already are being partially funded by taxpayer dollars, which is the only way they can compete with other sources.
Renewable energy is not without its problems. Tri-State has entered into an agreement with First Solar Corp. to build a 30-megawatt facility of solar panels requiring 250 acres in northeast New Mexico. A normal-size nuclear plant produces 800 to 1,000 megawatts. Extrapolating Tri-State’s project to such a size would require more than 8,000 acres. Similarly, a wind farm requires hundreds of acres to produce 800 megawatts, and the landscape pollution it creates is there forever.
France produces a majority of its power from nuclear plants. Japan produces a much larger percentage of its power from nuclear plants than does the United States. Japan, which experienced severe radioactivity problems in World War II, and France have found acceptable ways to dispose of nuclear wastes. Surely if they can do it, America can, too.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is correct when he says we should pursue multiple solutions to energy problems, i.e., conservation, renewables, alternative fuels (including nuclear), new technology and drilling for new sources of oil. Utilizing all sources is the most efficient way to meet forecast power requirements for 2025.
George Reynolds, Durango