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Letter: Clean energy focus should not include nuclear power
Work continues on a new reactor at Plant Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Waynesboro in this photo from 2014. - photo by John Bazemore | Associated Press

Thursday night’s Climate Change forum at Brenau University’s Hosch Theatre attracted a large crowd, including many college students. The organizers did a great job considering the work involved to plan and host the event, and that resulted in a relaxed but professional atmosphere. The speakers were engaging and deserve thanks for their efforts to educate and promote actions on such an important issue.

The evidence presented from a scientific framework strongly points to the conclusions shared at the forum: climate change is real and happening, is influenced by human activity (as well as by natural causes), and will likely get much worse if we continue the course we are on with our reliance on fossil fuels and dirty forms of energy. 

One issue promoted at the forum was the use of nuclear energy, with a major reason being given that it is “clean.” But if we look to science on this as well, we find this to be far from the truth in many ways. 

Research has shown that nuclear energy has a “carbon footprint” much higher than many think. At the front end, carbon energy is used for uranium mining, milling, processing, conversion and enrichment, etc., and construction of nuclear reactors is a huge undertaking that lasts years. At the back end, there is the task of isolating and guarding highly radioactive nuclear waste for thousands of years.

It was ironic that free market solutions to climate change were proposed right alongside the nuclear issue. After suffering through the Plant Vogtle debacle for years, (with our pocketbooks suffering as well), most Georgians are educated now that nuclear power doesn’t exist in the free market; investors will not touch it, as it is a risky and extremely expensive endeavor. 

Only through billions of dollars of government (meaning taxpayer) subsidies does it exist. Disheartening also is how much good this money could bring if applied toward true clean energy solutions which the forum speakers also extolled. 

Mitigating climate disruption demands sound investment in economical, expedient, clean and, most of all, safe technologies. Conservation, efficiency, wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal and other clean energy sources are where we should put our focus.

Bob Brooksher

Clermont

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