Tuesday, April 03, 2001
LETTERS: A nuclear future
To the editor:
A nuclear future
We now have a shortage of natural gas, expected to last a few years until new wells and pipelines are built. However, in the January issue of my IEEE magazine (The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) Page 83 shows a pie graph of energy sources at present and as planned by the year 2020. It shows electrical generation by natural gas is expected to increase from the present 15 percent to 60 percent. The electric utilities are planning to replace almost half of the coal burning plants with natural gas. Where did they expect that much gas to come from when we already have a shortage?
Gas comes from sources similar to oil and its life is also limited. We should save natural gas for home heating and special industrial uses. What else would we use for home heating? Oil is obviously a poor choice, we don't want to go back to coal, so the only other alternative is electricity which would aggravate the problems we already have with that.
We have lots of coal for generating electricity but that is in disfavor for environmental reasons and besides it would be impractical to use throughout the country because we have all but abandoned our railroads, the only way to transport coal. Non hydro renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power for electric generation, are expected to increase from 2 percent to 10 percent over the next 20 years and will be only a little help with our problems.
That leaves nuclear power as the only energy source not likely to run out in the future. Let's face it, we have to learn how to deal with nuclear.
FRED H. NUMRICH
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