Nuclear paradox

Friday, June 16, 2006

Energy Effcient Paradox

My Energy Efficient Paradox
Dena Stevens
PuebCO Properties

According to The Nuclear Energy Institute, "Of all energy sources, nuclear energy has perhaps the lowest impact on the environment, including water, land, habitat, species and air resources. Nuclear energy is the most eco-efficient of all energy sources because it produces the most electricity in relation to its minimal environmental impact."

The Energy Information Administration says, "Nuclear power has been presented as providing net environmental benefits. Specifically, nuclear power makes no contribution to global warming through the emission of carbon dioxide. Nuclear power also produces no notable sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, or particulates. When nuclear power is produced, nothing is burned in a conventional sense."

Ok, maybe this is all true; maybe nuclear power isn’t the big horrible monster I think I know and remember. It’s been twenty years since Chernobyl and more than that since Three Mile Island. But I bet the neighbors still aren’t trilled about having a nuclear power plant in their back yard.

This is my paradox. The web is full of sites that are pro-nuclear power, and it’s full of sites that are anti-nuclear power. National Public Radio has a program called "Living on Earth" that had a story recently (5-13-06) about nuclear power. The program had guests that sounded just as confused as I am. My mother and stepfather worked in the nuclear field for years. Their jobs were neither pro or con. And from their prospective, there is nothing wrong with it.

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, near Hughs Aircraft and Rocketdyne. In the late 1950's and early 1960's there was an unreported melt down, which is coming to light today. The neighbors are up in arms and there is a free lance movie being made about it. And worse of all I know many people who are unexplainably sick. It seems remarkable to me that twenty five years after I left the area, I know people who still live in the area who are very sick.

Here I am thinking that I’m doing the best I can for myself and the environment - I’m ‘Ecobroker’, my sister survived a brain tumor and my father didn’t. Were the illness my father, sister and others suffered from the old neighborhood caused by, as depicted in the movie "The Meltdown" or was it just bad luck? Should I believe the "pro" web sites? How do I reconcile this?

I believe the balance of who I am today is the sum of my experiences. There is some good and some bad that has effected all of us. If a vote were held tomorrow, would you vote for or against having a nuclear power plant built in your neighborhood?

Dena Stevens, Ecobroker, CSP
PuebCO Properties
(719) 369-9087 / /