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OpinionLetters

Letter: We can do better than nuclear power

Members of the media, wearing protective suits and

Members of the media, wearing protective suits and masks, visit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Feb. 28, 2012). Credit: AP Photo/Kimimasa Mayama

Newsday's editorial "No nuclear overreaction" [March 11] argues that continuing to depend on nuclear power is a necessary evil. The intensive promotional campaign by the nuclear industry, along with general acquiescence of mainstream media, have combined to dampen reporting of the many demonstrations of public opposition in the United States.

One must question a poll of residents near the Indian Point nuclear plant, who benefit from taxes and jobs, showing majority approval of the plant. But the majority of the 20 million potential victims within a 50-mile radius would likely strongly favor closing that plant.

In addition to routine and accidental emissions of radiation, Indian Point's record is plagued with a variety of problems, as are many of the nation's reactors: degradation of critical plant components caused by metal fatigue and corrosion, spent fuel-pool leaks of tritium, strontium-90 and cesium-137 into groundwater and the Hudson River ecosystem, risks of terrorist attacks on spent fuel pools, and 2008 research that found the earthquake risk worse than the plant was designed for.

Twenty-three reactors in the United States are of the same unsafe Mark 1 design as those at Fukushima and should be closed immediately. And, hardly common knowledge, the continual releases of radioactive gases, liquids and particles into the environment from nuclear reactors are part of the design basis of all nuclear plants. The accumulation of this radioactivity globally is arguably having its effect on people in the form of cancers, genetic damage and hereditary diseases in this and future generations.

We can do better than be cheerleaders for implementing actions to prop up this dangerous, polluting and expensive dinosaur technology.

Miriam Goodman, Huntington

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