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Debate Yucca Mountain anew

To the editor:

After reading Leonard Kreisler’s letter in Tuesday’s Review-Journal regarding the safety of accepting partially spent nuclear fuel rods at Yucca Mountain (“State should claim Yucca Mountain cash”), perhaps an in-depth interview could provide clarification and much-needed additional information. Let’s hear from the other side with open, public discussions.

Mr. Kreisler’s credentials and background knowledge of the subject would appear to support his statements. Nevada’s future nuclear storage involvement, and the huge financial fund tied to the potential project, is far too serious to ignore the claims made by Mr. Kreisler. We Nevadans deserve no less than all the truth. Our very future is at stake.



True experts

To the editor:

I commend the Review-Journal for publishing Tuesday’s letter about Yucca Mountain by Leonard Kreisler (“State should claim Yucca Mountain cash”). It’s not every day that the media publish information from true experts with no political ax to grind.

I too know something about the energy picture. In my career, I was involved with several projects: the Apollo, GPS, space shuttle, space station and a host of classified programs. In the 1970s, the company I was with looked for other avenues for our technology and people. And my friend and boss went to Washington to be the No. 3 man in Jimmy Carter’s Department of Energy. He was in charge of what he called the “etc.” of energy: solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, ocean waves and such. I studied these subjects a lot, and so did the people under me. I also gained a lot of insight from my friend at the DOE.

Perhaps most problematic was the energy payback. Take a wind turbine, for example. You must dig a hole (with a machine that uses gas), you must build the generator with a lot of copper, rare-earth magnets and steel. You must have a stout pole, with steel dug up from the earth and transported to the site. You must have concrete, dug from the earth and processed with energy. You must have copper wires from the turbine to the grid, and poles and concrete for the tower. It is complicated to determine the true total energy expended, but very important. Unfortunately, the energy generated over the life of the device often barely pays for the energy initially expended. In many cases, there is zero energy payback.

The payback can also be marginalized by where you get the money for the project and the interest rate you assume. In the United States, most of these programs get subsidized by the government, with money borrowed from the Chinese (who are building coal and nuclear power plants like mad). We also use money dreamed up by the Federal Reserve.

Yes, we should proceed with the total energy equation for America and around the world, but let’s be smart and honest about it.



Yucca study needed

To the editor:

This is regarding Leonard Kreisler’s letter about the prospect of our state getting $5.6 billion from the federal government if we permit the storage of partially spent nuclear fuel rods at the Yucca Mountain facility (“State should claim Yucca Mountain cash,” Tuesday Review-Journal). I believe that Mr. Kreisler is correct on several aspects regarding the safety of storage and transportation. I also believe that Mr. Kreisler is correct that in the past, we have had too many “political stooge” appointees as energy secretary who lacked the technical knowledge to lead this country into recycling partially spent fuel rods, as is the practice in other countries.

However, I believe that he is wrong about us being stupid to turn down the $5.6 billion offer to store the partially spent fuel rods in Yucca Mountain. We should first have a team of recognized experts, such as Mr. Kreisler, do a study funded by the DOE to determine all costs involved, such as any necessary updating of Yucca Mountain and all necessary engineering, security, safety and administrative costs for a specified period of storage time. Additional funding from the DOE would obviously be necessary beyond this period of storage — perhaps from the growing $25 billion to $30 billion that’s currently being collected by the DOE from rate payers.



Red, white and blue

To the editor:

I try to do the right thing by participating in the nonmandatory recycling program in my community. Republic Services sent me three pretty bins: red for plastic, white for paper and blue for glass. I dutifully separate all three items and watch amusingly every two weeks as the collector dumps the contents of all three bins into the same truck.

Why not just give me one bigger bin? I guess that would be too easy, so I’m stuck with the good old red, white and blue.



Baseball suspensions

To the editor:

Major League Baseball has suspended a dozen players for 50 games, and Alex Rodriguez drew the harshest penalty, getting suspended through the 2014 season. In my view, this might have effectively ended “A-Roid’s” career. The others are young enough to still bounce back and play, like the other 99 percent of those who make a living at this game.

But one of the unintended consequences of Commissioner Bud Selig’s decision has probably gone unnoticed by the average citizen: the amount of federal tax revenue not collected as a result of these suspensions, since these players were suspended without pay. One can do the math and probably come up with a number close to $30 million. So does that add to the federal deficit?



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