Don’t fear nuclear power

host of KZFR radio talk show Freedom’s Questions, Fridays, 5:30-7:00 pm.
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is: contempt prior to investigation.”

This statement by Herbert Spencer can be difficult to live by because we don’t like the uncomfortable feeling of having to change our minds. But wouldn’t you really want to know the truth sooner rather than later?

The Streetalk column in the July 18 CN&R raised the question of nuclear waste being transported through Chico to Yucca Mountain, Nev. The negative comments given by each person were understandable considering the intense propaganda surrounding anything nuclear for the last 40 years. Does anyone remember the promises made back in the ‘50s of nuclear power so cheap “we wouldn’t need meters on our houses"?

I have on four occasions interviewed Galen Winsor, a chemist who began his career in the nuclear-power industry in 1950 at Hanford, Wash. He worked for the Atomic Energy Commission and General Electric and has been telling what he knows to be true for more than 25 years now. I’m sorry to report that the “nuclear scare scam” appears to be a cover for a bigger rip-off than Enron. You might want to check out some of his claims before you scoff.

Let’s start with that “spent fuel,” also known as “nuclear waste.” Winsor says that by the mid-'50s GE knew that nuclear reactors never had to be refueled because the fission process constantly creates new fuel. Doesn’t that mean that the whole Yucca Mountain business is a fraud? The U.S. Navy doesn’t refuel its reactors. The submarines wore out, but each of those reactors could power a city of 20,000 to 50,000 people. Wouldn’t a few of them easily cover California’s alleged energy crisis? Too dangerous? Apparently not to the 33,000 sailors who worked and slept within inches of them during the last 45-plus years!

Let’s go back to the fraudulently named “spent fuel” coming through town. Is there any real danger? It would help to know that the so-called “cooling water” in a reactor is really the reason that the uranium fuel heats up. That’s right, the water reflects the neutrons into the fuel, and that’s what causes it to “go critical” and boil the water to make the steam to run the generators. That means that when the fuel isn’t under water it can’t heat up. So, as far as Yucca Mountain storage is concerned, who is being presently injured by the fuel rods where they are?

If the answer is no one, why move it? Winsor, who is now a very healthy 75 years old, has worked bare-handed and unprotected with uranium most of his life, and he says that nuclear radiation is just ultraviolet light and "all light is good for you, unless and until it burns you." Have these questions triggered contempt, or will you investigate?