Guest editorial: Nuclear power |

Guest editorial: Nuclear power

Gus Sharry, Park City,

It’s good to see we’re still talking about nuclear power; not so good to see that progress toward full-on adoption here in the USA has been much too slow.

We’ve been duped by the fossil fuel power generating industry since the ’60s — fear mongering for profit — sound familiar? And all the while, they have been steadily poisoning our one and only atmosphere, and our water in the sink below, with billions of little fires, burning constantly, planet-wide.

Whether oil, gasoline, coal, or natural gas, they’re all derived from long dead, carbon-based organisms. In its fossilized form, this carbon had been neatly sequestered below ground by nature, allowing for the balance and beauty of the natural world we evolved in. Then we opened the box and started slamming parts together without "reading the instructions."

Have you seen the inversion in the Snyderville Basin on calm mid-winter mornings? That ain’t just water vapor, Governor. So much for "clean-burning natural gas" and catalytic converters. Our collection of little fires is already enough to foul the air, even with all that as-yet-undeveloped acreage in our midst. Then there’s the Salt Lake Valley — highway message boards saying FOR BETTER AIR, COMBINE TRIPS. Hello people! Are you kidding me? They must be laughing ’til it hurts over there at UDOT.

As for the nuclear power option: can anyone immediately bring to mind even the location of the last radiation-related fatality at or near a U.S. nuclear power station? Given the track record, anyone of neutral viewpoint can see that power generation via nuclear fission has been proven safe. What about buried spent fuel? Same question: anybody having problems breathing due to that buried spent fuel? How about those pesky radiation burns? Anybody? Ever heard of a spent fuel cask falling off a transport, opening up, and irradiating someone? Anybody?

Until we can harness lightning, or perfect that large orbiting magnifying glass that would focus sunlight directly to receiving stations here on the surface, I say we embrace nuclear power as we should have 50 years ago. To the other options, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, go for it. But as for fossil fuels, it’s way past time to dial down their use to industry sectors where they have no equal. No, the fossil fuel industry will not disappear. Indeed, it will become even more specialized and environmentally critical as we try to conserve our limited stash. It’s time to wake up from the dream and put people before profit, because this crime against humanity is turning into a nightmare as we speak.

And while we’re at it, how about we cover a few acres with solar panels out at Richardson Flat and replace the entire Park City Transit fleet with all-electric vehicles. We’ll park and charge ’em up out by that parking lot that was evidently built for folks wanting to be the first up over Wolf Creek Pass in the spring.

Ah, to be able to walk up Main Street without having to avoid those particulate-belching "trollies." Given that we have the technology, to not pursue this is unequivocally irresponsible. As Mr. RD liked to put it, "let’s go while we’re young."

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