Spent nuclear fuel is a threat to security

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As a retired nuclear engineer I must take strong exception to the March 24 op-ed piece "The Rise of the Nuclear Greens." The writer, Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute, does not address the problem of spent nuclear fuel waste. At the present time, all of the spent fuel used at all of our nuclear power plants, many of which are over 40 years old, is still stored at the plant sites. This represents more than 75,000 tons of waste in the U.S. and more than 3 million pounds at the Beaver Valley plant.

There is no solution to this problem and no action except to continue to store the spent fuel at each reactor site. Each one of these sites represents a potential Chernobyl. All of these plant owners will tell you that the fuel is perfectly safe and they have considered all potential accidents. What they don't tell you is there is little defense from terrorism.

Currently the Japanese are trying to stabilize a spent fuel pit at the destroyed Fukushima power plant that contains hundreds of spent fuel assemblies. A disaster would affect the entire northern hemisphere.

Mikhail Gorbachev recently stated that Chernobyl as much as perestroika caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. France and Germany have calculated that a Chernobyl-type accident in either of their countries would destroy their economy.

I was once a strong proponent of nuclear power. This power source has been mishandled and in its current condition can never be considered a "green" power source.

JACK BARNES
O'Hara


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