---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: barry levine
Date: Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 5:43 AM
Subject: re: E.P.A. Wrestles With Role of Nuclear Plants in Carbon Emission Rules
To the Editor:
To formulate a rational energy policy, we must start with honest accounting. The costs and benefits of each technology must be tallied before we can compare the role each may play in generating our energy. Bizarrely, until now, this has been done only for solar and for wind generation. For all other contributors, important costs have been "externalized" i.e. pushed off the ledger, charged to the public rather than to the generator. In the case of fossil fuels , these externalities include "depletion allowances" and mercury contamination of the atmosphere and oceans and of course carbon dioxide (with consequent global climate effects and ocean acidification.
To treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant and therefore regulate it under the FDA is forty years overdue. But the hang an entire energy policy on the carbon rule will break it. What we need is honest accounting. For fossil fuels, the carbon rule (and ending depletion allowances) will get us there. For fission plants, we need to assess what it will cost to store the radioactive waste safely for 100,000 years or more. Put a number to that and we'll know whether nuclear power is "cheap" or not. Likewise, when you've told us what the interruption of a river's fish life is worth, we can weigh hydropower's role in our energy policy.
Barry Haskell Levine