The uninformed Nevada public

Gary Duarte is director of a U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation, headquartered in Sparks. His original headline for this piece was “Nevada public is ill-informed & uneducated about Yucca MT.,” which would not fit in our space.

The single largest contributor to media buzz is generated by “political opinion.” It is sad, but, reality. Instead of just opinion, it would be helpful if politicians could provide the public some education about the public issues they are voting for in their representation of the people.

Nuclear technology has been wrongfully demonized for over 50 years. Nearly all “nuclear issues” were self-inflicted. Chernobyl was built without a containment structure and being run by unqualified personnel. Three Mile Island was a faulty valve, since replaced with new gravity functioning valves, such updates never provided to the public. Fukushima was advised by the contractor to place the plant several miles inland, turned down for economics. It was the very popular, GE boiling water reactors (BWR) supplied by GE, Toshiba and Hitachi. The reactor didn’t fail from the earthquake. It failed from the tsunami that terminated the spent fuel cooling pools.

Our national laboratories are designing and testing molten salt reactors, operating at much higher temperatures, so that “eventually” they will be capable of burning our current nuclear waste. This type of research should be studied by our representatives before their political opinion demonizes the Yucca Mountain Application Review.

We can debate whether or not science can accomplish this, but you cannot debate the fact, in the past 30 years, science has produced digital television, hand-held cell phones with internet video, TV access, etc. Nuclear power has made similar advances, but government and the industry have not promoted these advancements through grassroots public outreach, and the media has not tried to help with such education. Irrespective of which side you attend on global warming, nuclear energy is the largest clean energy source in the United States, producing more carbon-free electricity than all other sources combined. 2017 figures show that nuclear energy generates more than 56 percent of America’s emission-free electricity.