No environmentalists support nuclear powerLet's get this in perspective. In Japan, 20,000 people are dead or missing from the earthquake. So far, the nuclear power disaster is not known to have killed anyone. The power plants were based on a 50-year-old design. If a reactor melts down and kills a dozen people, it will still be a minor footnote in this story. A new reactor can be designed to avoid this sort of problem.
Reading the article "U.S. rethinks nuclear energy policy in wake of disaster" was a small relief. I was at first heartened to read that with the terrible events unfolding in Japan, at least the U.S., and hopefully other nations, will see that building more nuclear power plants is a horrible plan. No power source that generates toxic waste could be a good long-term solution to our need for energy anywhere, let alone in a seismically active region like California. But I was surprised with Broder's reporting that until recently several mainstream environmental groups agreed nuclear power is a viable option for solving the climate change crisis. I couldn't believe this to be true. After trolling the web, I found, indeed, no mainstream environmental groups are condoning nuclear power as a method for combating climate change, never have, and probably never will. The real supporters of these plants are the companies who want taxpayers' money to build them.
Landa Rosebraugh, Watsonville
If environmentalists oppose nuclear power, then they obviously are not serious about global warming. There is no other feasible alternative for large-scale power production without greenhouse gases. That is why global warming alarmists like James Hansen favor nuclear power.
Update: Here is one environmentalist view:
You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.Perhaps Japan can now use Fukushima to dump their nuclear waste, since it is contaminated anyway.
A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.