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Letter: Nuclear power not all that clean

New York State Troopers stand at the main

New York State Troopers stand at the main entrance of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, Saturday May 9, 2015, after a transformer failed, causing a fire that has been extinguished in Buchanan, N.Y. Credit: AP / Craig Ruttle

This letter is in response to the letter from the executive director of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance ["Three steps to better air quality," May 8].

I agree with the first two steps. Increased use of alternatively powered vehicles would reduce emissions of dangerous greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Also, accelerating the removal of heating oil from buildings would reduce mishaps during disposal that lead to contamination of groundwater.

However, I disagree that we should continue to build nuclear power plants. Although nuclear power is very clean during use, typically only emitting water vapor or hot steam into the atmosphere, I would not call it clean energy.

There are many steps before and after the actual use of uranium-235 in the nuclear power plant. The mining, milling and enrichment of uranium use immense amounts of fossil fuel. The fabrication of uranium-235 into pellets and powder for use in the nuclear reactors uses large amounts of energy.

These steps should not be glanced over. Massive amounts of greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere to make, manage and maintain "clean" nuclear power plants.

Christopher Woods, Rockville Centre