Two Letters from Washington

This blog site is not about politics. There are plenty of other sources for that. Every once in awhile though a bit of information from the government would not be out of place here especially if it is relevant to rural living, the environment and the planet. I recently received a letter from a Senator and Congresswoman that is encouraging and thought I’d share.

October 6, 2011

Mr. Donald Chapman

Keauhou, HI 96739-0633

Dear Mr. Chapman:

Thank you for your comments regarding nuclear power plants.

I believe that nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons pose a great threat to our environment and security. I am concerned about nuclear power plant safety and regulations, radioactive waste management, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks. I am also concerned that funds for energy research and development could be diverted from clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to design and construction of nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plant startup costs are prohibitive and rely heavily on federal subsidies and loans. In addition, our nation’s nuclear power plants, which generate a fifth of our electricity, produce about 2,000 metric tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel in a year that must be disposed.

Ultimately, it is my belief that our energy policy should focus on encouraging domestic, renewable energy production and energy efficiency technologies that support local green jobs, improve national security, and result in cleaner air, land, and water. The views of my constituents are important to me, and I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate considers energy policy. Mahalo again for contacting me.

Aloha pumehana


U.S. Senator

This second letter was from my Congresswoman.



October 4, 2011

Mr. Donald Chapman

Keauhou, HI 96739-0633

Dear Mr. Chapman,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the retirement of U.S. nuclear reactors.

The tragedy of the Fukushima nuclear disaster is a devastating reminder of the dangers associated with nuclear energy. While we are still working to provide assistance and support to the people of Japan as they work to respond to this crisis, we must also work to incorporate the lessons and warnings of this tragedy into our nuclear oversight policies.

The Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act of 2011, H.R. 1242, is intended to do just that and I am pleased to be a cosponsor of this legislation. H.R. 1242 was introduced by Congressman Markey (D-MA) and would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to place a moratorium on all reactor permits and initiate a revision of nuclear power plant safety regulations.

This revision would require the NRC to ensure that each of the 104 licensed facilities in the U.S. can withstand natural hazards like earthquakes, tsunamis, and other strong storms, a loss of primary power for at least 14 days, and a loss of primary backup operating power for at least 72 hours. Finally, it requires the Secretary of Energy to ensure that the cost of any federal loan guarantees for nuclear facilities be calculated using a consideration of the 2011 Japan earthquake to estimate the risk characteristics of the project. H.R. 1242 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am not a member.

Nuclear power is a tremendously risky and tremendously expensive energy source. Construction can exceed $8 billion per facility and take more than a decade before any power is generated. Additionally, private financing for these types of projects is effectively non-existent—unless the federal government is willing to assume far too much of the risk. I share your concerns about nuclear energy, and would prefer to see the federal government continue support for, and greater investment in, truly clean sustainable energy sources.

Please do not hesitate to contact me again in the future on this or other issues of importance to you.


Mazie K. Hirono
Member of Congress

Well there you have it. Two nice letters from the government that address some concerns that I have about energy policy and protection of citizens and the environment. A bit of good news I’d say.



About earthstonestation

promoting environmental education, protecting all species and preserving the wild places with art, music and storytelling.
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7 Responses to Two Letters from Washington

  1. There is such a thing as safe nuclear power. In China, they are building thorium and pebble-bed reactors that from everything I’ve read cannot have an accident similar to what happened in Japan recently, the US with Three Mile Island or Chernobyl in the old USSR.

    What’s sad is that the US and Europe knew all about thorium as a safer nuclear fuel decades ago and ignored it for the weapons grade kind due to the Cold War and went from there to build that industry and once an industry is built it is not easy to get rid of it.

    In fact, engineers from the United States have visited China to see these new thorium power plants being built there and learn from the Chinese.

    Here’s a link to a post about thorium.

    And here’s a link about China’s pebble bed reactors

  2. Hope that many more feel this way, feel it would be safer, and healthier, for everyone.

  3. jpgreenword says:

    To me, it is a question of looking at the pros and cons (which are, I admit, in the eye of the beholder). Nuclear power plants release radioactive tritium (a form of hydrogen) into the environment, which has been linked to cancer in areas near nuclear power plants. They also produce radioactive waste that remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. On those two counts alone, I cannot support nuclear power. But, you can add the environmental impacts of mining for the nuclear “fuel” that powers the reactors, the inherent risks associated with the plant (unfortunately illustrated in Japan this year), the financial cost of building and maintaining nuclear power plants…
    Don’t get me wrong, renewable energy sources aren’t perfect. But, if a windmill breaks, local communities are not put at risk. Solar panels don’t release radioactive emissions. The best that people have come up with to criticize renewables are arguments like “they look bad” and “the noise gives me a headache”. You know what gives me a headache? Acid rain and smog (fossil fuels). Heavy metals in the air (coal). Seeing the island I live on erode because of increased storm surges caused by climate change (fossil fuels).
    And you know what, wind mills are sexy : )

  4. Tess Kann says:

    We are having the same problem in Canada. We are against nuclear energy and have diverted the building of a new plant not far from where I live only because of a recent election and outcry from the voters. What will happen in the future? This is a worry. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Candy says:

    Good news indeed. I, personally, think nuclear power plants have proven to be exactly what the writers say. Dangerous. To people and the environment. Simply not worth the expense when technology is improving to the degree that cleaner and environment friendly resources are so near. Put our collective resources in a different direction. Don’t be too arrogant either to not check out how other countries are adopting a different tract.

  6. Paul says:

    That’s good news, indeed!

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