Letter to the editor: nuclear power, replace fossil fuels

Andrew Cannon | Evergreen contributor

This presidential campaign, even environmentally conscious candidates like Bernie Sanders have failed to put forward detailed plans to combat climate change.

Although vague promises to reduce emissions are effective on the campaign trial, any serious plan to reduce America’s carbon emissions must include nuclear power. Nuclear power can replace dirty fossil fuels and slow down global warming.

It releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any power source except wind, and runs reliably any time of day or night. Unlike other green sources, nuclear power is viable on a large scale, everywhere, now.

The only real impediment to nuclear power is public fear about its safety—but nuclear power is much safer than the polluting power plants in use today. Chernobyl, the worst nuclear accident in history, caused 31 deaths immediately and is projected to cause about 4000 additional deaths from cancer.

Coal emissions, by contrast, cause over 10,000 premature deaths every year in the United States, as well as tens of thousands of hospitalizations. Modern reactors can stop themselves if they overheat, as demonstrated by the WSU reactor’s ability to pulse to 1000 times its normal operating power before coming back down within seconds, with no operator intervention whatsoever.

With a new fleet of modern, hyper-safe reactors, there is no reason we cannot eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels.

The opinions expressed in this Column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of The Office of Student Media.