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Time to switch to nuclear

To the editor:

Nuclear power: what is it? It is one of the cleanest, most reliable powers that we have today.

A number of years ago, I wrote a letter to this paper about nuclear power on naval ships, aircraft carriers and submarines. The following year, I went to an REA annual membership meeting at the Chassell Township School.

There were two VIPs there; one from Lansing and one from WEE Engineering in Green Bay. I talked to both of them after the meeting. I told them I will send them the letter information I sent to the Gazette.

About one year later, I was on a conference call and we talked for about an hour about nuclear power. I said if we can put them on subs and carriers, we can build small plants and put them in many locations around the U.S. Last summer I read that about 13 small plants have been built and 12 are operational and one is being used for research.

France derives 70% of its electricity from nuclear power. There are six operational reactors in Sweden which produce 40% of that country’s need. The rest is hydroelectric power. Finland, too, currently has four nuclear reactors providing 30% of its electricity with a fifth one under construction to make it 60% provision and the rest hydroelectric. A consortium led by Rolls-Royce has announced plans to build 16 mini-nuclear plants in the UK. These small mini-plants are safer, easier to build and maintain.

Read for yourself online about how many countries are doing this.

The natural gas power plant that they recently installed in Baraga is a gas-fired turbine and has a lot of moving parts. What would happen if there was an interruption in the gas flow, or a major breakdown with no backup like coal? With the cold spell in Texas, most if not all the natural gas comes down from Texas or Oklahoma. A coal-fired plant has the fuel on sight. Ask yourself how close did we actually come to a total freeze with no coal or backup?

When we built our home 40 years ago, I put in a wood-fired, gravity-fed heating system with oil backup. My zone value or balance valve, are what I call butterfly valves, so I don’t need any electric or outside fuel to keep our home warm in the coldest weather. During a week of very cold weather, like last month, with no gas for heating, what would the northern part of the country do?

John Kerry has said we closed hundreds of coal-fired plants in the U.S. to save our environment, but China has many more coal-fired plants. Six years ago, by administration, they were told they didn’t have to clean them up until the year 2035.

NMU, Lake Superior State and MTU and others could build their own mini-nuclear power plants for heating and lighting. There is one now at Oregon State and one at Reed College in Portland being used for research.

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