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Published: Friday, 4/1/2005

Nuclear fuel cycle is low in emissions

Helen Caldicott's March 16 diatribe against the Nuclear Energy Institute was loaded with false claims about the nuclear fuel cycle.

Her claim that uranium enrichment plants use electricity generated from "two coal plants" is untrue. There is only one enrichment plant in the United States - in Paducah, Ky. By contract, it obtains electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority's fleet of power plants, so about 40 percent of its electricity comes from non-emitting nuclear and hydroelectric power plants.

Ms. Caldicott also mangles the truth with her claim of CFC gas emissions from the uranium enrichment process. The Paducah facility doesn't produce CFC-114, more commonly known as "Freon." It uses it as a coolant for safety purposes in its enrichment operations. There is some leakage into the environment, but this amount is well within Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. In addition, Freon is no longer manufactured in the U.S. The enrichment plant uses Freon recycled from cars and home air conditioning units.

USEC, the company operating the Kentucky facility, has an active Freon leak-reduction program under way and has applied for a license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to a build and operate a centrifuge enrichment plant that will not use any CFCs.

Although all industrial and manufacturing activities have environmental impacts and produce waste byproducts, nuclear power has one of the smallest environmental impacts of any source of electricity and manufacturing processes.

In fact, a study by the International Energy Agency in 2003 showed that the entire nuclear energy life cycle resulted in the second-lowest emissions of greenhouse gases next to wind, which is hardly a technology Americans can rely on today to provide the round-the-clock, bulk electricity supplies that nuclear power plants provide.

Scott Peterson

Vice President

Nuclear Energy Institute

Washington, D.C.

I was sorry to see the passage of so-called anti-terror measures by the Ohio State Senate. I certainly hope it is not passed when it goes to the state House of Representatives.

The provision for Soviet-style checkpoints is in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated." By sponsoring this bill, Sen. Jeff Jacobson has violated his own oath of office and should be removed.

The job of the police is to pin-point and arrest those who harm the rest of us, not to cast a wide net and confuse citizens with terrorists. If they cannot do their jobs without violating our freedoms, then someone else should be doing their jobs.

Carl R. Goodwin

Norwalk, Ohio

I read Jack Kelly's column because I always want to know what the ultra-conservatives think. But he has gone too far. To me, he dishonors the uniform that he so often proudly refers to when he writes, and I quote: "When U. S. District Judge James Whittmore authorized the killing of Terri Schiavo, he could claim he was following the law."

To say that a U.S. judge authorized killing someone is, in my opinion, despicable. To be opposed to his ruling is one thing. To refer to it as authorizing a killing is another. What gives Jack Kelly the right to make such a claim? In essence, and by implication, he has said that the Supreme Court of the United States authorized the killing.

In my opinion this borders on treason coming from a military officer.

Roy Treuhaft

Carrietowne Lane

There she goes again. This time Marilou Johanek not only bashes President Bush, as she is prone to do, but labels all conservatives as "shallow Americans." I resent her implication that we were led into an unjust war when the only purposeless one we were suckered into was by Democrats: the Vietnam War.

We "shallow" Americans fought for this country's liberty, fought to preserve the Union, fought to free Europe, Asia, the Pacific, South Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Liberals complain about every problem facing this administration, but never offer any constructive solutions. Now Ms. Johanek even blasts Condi Rice, a great American, whom she claims "lugs around a tangled web of deceit." Pure slander!

I've wondered for some time if The Blade pays her for the sole purpose of denigrating Republicans. I would fight for her right to express her opinions, but not her misdirected motives.

Lou Vasaturo

Dulton Drive

Bravo for Marilou Johanek's March 25 column, "Judicial activism OK - when it suits GOP." She got to the root of the situation. The law has no business making specific medical decisions.

No one who has heard of this case could fail to be moved by Terri Schiavo's plight. But why do we know so much about something so personal? Why has there been so much news coverage? And why did Congress and the President spend so much time and energy on a medical decision?

If Congress displayed that kind of passion on issues concerning the general population of this country, imagine what could be accomplished. Health care, education, and jobs come to mind. But those would require risk. Those don't have one tragic figure and one personal struggle associated with them. As tragic as the Terri Schiavo case was, it was still easier to grandstand and show how much you cared about her than to do the work involved in truly governing.

LINDA OSBORN

Petersburg, Mich.

Vice Admiral Albert T. Church's report is a self-serving whitewash by the military brass and their civilian superiors to continue to shield their individual responsibility for war crimes. The report lauds the interrogation practices at Guantanamo while a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross stated months ago that what was going on at Guantanamo was "tantamount to torture."

The little bit of criticism of civilian and higher brass is referred to as "missed opportunities." The focus of the report is to find a pristine intent of the civilian leadership and military brass. The focus is on showing there was no "approval" of torture and that the pressure exerted on the troops below for actionable intelligence was "normal" in a theater of war.

But the standard is broader than that in the Torture Convention. The standard is, to quote Article 1 of the Torture Convention, "when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

As the American Bar Association president has written to President Bush, we need an independent commission of inquiry with subpoena powers to explore the nature of the instigation, consent, or acquiescence in torture by the civilian leadership and military brass.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is incapable of doing that; he is a prime architect of this ignoble policy. We need to shake out responsibility from the top down, rather than from the bottom up through these piecemeal reports made without subpoena authority. Keep our honor clean. Stop U.S. torture. Support our troops!

Benjamin Davis

Alvin Street

This is to all of the Bush bashers who have been ridiculing his Social Security personal accounts plan. President Roosevelt noted in an address to Congress on Jan. 17, 1935, "for perhaps 30 years to come funds provided by the Federal Government will meet these pensions." Then he said after that it would be necessary to move to what he called "voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age."

Mr. Roosevelt said Social Security would need to be updated around 1965. It would appear that Congress is 40 years late implementing Mr. Roosevelt's idea for personal accounts.

RAYMOND M. ELIEFF

Suder Avenue



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