Letters to the Editor
Vol. 9, No. 22
May 31-June 6, 2001
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In America, Nuclear Works

Dear Bay Weekly:

Maybe it's you that's dropped into the Twilight Zone and lost your memory. Just how many people were killed, deformed, or physically injured in any way by the failure at Three Mile Island? As far as I know, the number is zero. That's because the safety precautions mandated in every U.S. nuclear power plant worked.

Nevertheless, in their ever-present zeal to portray a what-could-have-happened scenario, the American press stirred the pot until they had the populous running for cover. The simple fact is that the first person killed on the road this weekend will represent one more death than has occurred from any nuclear power plant "disaster" in this country.

Sure, Chernobyl was another story and reiterated the ever-present risk when dealing with nuclear materials. But comparing the design, engineering, and construction of an American nuclear power plant to the one at Chernobyl is like comparing a Winston Cup race car to a '53 Plymouth.

There's risk in everything we do. The omnipresent cell phone may be frying our brains, while the tuna we're eating leaches mercury into our bloodstream. We can choose to bury our heads in the ground, or we can learn from the folks on the 'left coast' that a no-development, environment-and-safety-first-at-all-costs attitude will eventually fail, like any extreme position.

Our technology-based society will continue to require lots of inexpensive energy if we're to maintain a leadership position. This energy may be produced in any number of ways, but windmills and solar power just don't get it done any better now than when we started earnest development activities more than 30 years ago. I don't mean to discount these technologies as they may be the best option 30 years from now, but I feel it's foolish to remove nuclear power from the mix based on a what-could-happen-but-really-hasn't-happened attitude.

Truth is, we're more likely to get trashed by some zealot carrying a nuclear device in his briefcase.

Given this, should you move underground and start printing your newspaper on a stone? I don't think so.

-Ralph Beatty, Friendship

Next Step After Safeway

Dear Bay Weekly:

Safeway's decision not to build its megastore in Deale opens the way to opportunity. It gives us all a chance to do things differently in Deale. We may plan together, with the Deale-Shady Side Small Area Plan as our inspiration.

In announcing that Safeway would not build its 77,000-square-foot complex, its spokesman said no one builds 25,000-square-foot stores, as the downzoning of the Safeway property to C-1 by the County Council would allow.

But Giant has a 17,000 square foot store in Potomac, and Giant is not noted for doing business to lose money. Does Giant really know something that Safeway does not?

How about encouraging Safeway to build a store of that size in Deale, and then to become a principal supporter of the $8.5 billion initiative to Save the Bay? Deale would have a classy new grocery store that fits its modest country town scale and an anchor at a critical corner. Commercial property values in Deale would no doubt rise, and Safeway would earn praise by showing its concern for community and environmental sensitivities and by becoming a partner in the worldwide good cause to save our cosmic wonder, the fragile and irreplaceable Chesapeake.

Why not?

-Chris May, Deale

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly