Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Energy, nuclear reactors

Clean energy

This March, Conservation Voters for Idaho launched a grass-roots campaign to advance clean energy in Idaho. We’ve relied on fossil fuels too long — they’re expensive, pollute our communities and undermine Idaho’s resiliency.

Recently, Governor Otter, addressing around 250 regulatory utility commissioners, credited reliable, renewable energy as a driving force in drawing businesses to Idaho. He’s right — but we can and should do better to move Idaho toward a renewable energy future. One that brings good jobs and grows our economy, takes back power to choose clean energy solutions and zero emissions vehicles, and creates resiliency and energy security.

Idaho has high capacity for renewable energy production, and jobs in these industries are growing rapidly. However, due to regulatory barriers to the market and lack of political will, they have not been fully developed. Clean energy costs are now competitive with fossil fuels. The barriers to a clean energy future aren’t technical or economic, they’re political and it’s time for a change.

More than ever, we need to work together to take meaningful actions to remove barriers to clean energy to provide a secure energy future for Idaho. Clean energy for Idaho means the freedom to choose our power.

Crystal Rain, Boise

Nuclear reactors

Idaho politicians and federal officials plan to install 12 small “modular” nuclear reactors (SMRs) at Idaho National Lab, raising safety, cost and environmental concerns.

The struggling nuclear industry’s “safe” SMR equipment claims are unproven. Remember also that INL sits directly above the huge Snake River Aquifer, the water source for 300,000 Idaho citizens and crop irrigators. This highly unstable land area contains one of the nation’s largest earthquake fault lines as well.

Producing one SMR may be cheaper than standard nuclear plants, but this project requires 12 SMRs. They would use more water, make more waste (including dangerous plutonium waste with pricey taxpayer cleanup), and cost more per kWh than regular nuclear plants. Large Idaho and federal subsidies will enable a Utah company to own these reactors. Doubtful cost savings.

Nuclear is not “clean” energy. The radiation lasts thousands of years. No adequate storage exists for nuclear waste, because no one wants it. Like INL’s estimated 24,427 current 55-gallon barrels of processed waste, SMR commercial waste also would threaten Idaho’s crucial aquifer, as a “permanent” environmental hazard for Idahoans. Don’t waste Idaho.

Caroline Morris, Boise

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