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Wednesday, November 12, 2003


The Oregonian had some fine material on the editorial and op-ed pages today... for me to poop on!

First there was a letter to the editor from someone named Per Peterson, professor of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley. According to this fellow, PGE shouldn't have to refund to ratepayers the money that it improperly charged them for the shutdown of the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant: "I think that 'consumer advocates' should be suing those who drove the decision to shut down Trojan, not Portland General Electric. That's where the real economic responsibility lies."


Why do we still have nuclear engineering departments at our public universities? The last commercial nuclear plant in this country was built around 30 years ago. That means we've paid guys like Professor Peterson 30 years' worth of salary to teach a generation of engineers something that has produced very little benefit to the American public.

We've got nuclear engineering professors at Oregon State, too. Big time money. For what? Mostly they just come around and shill for the nuke industry every now and then. I'd rather see a Department of Sorcery and Alchemy.

On the op-ed page, columnist David Sarasohn reminds us that Ralph Nader's still out there, and that he'll run for President again unless Sharpton or Braun get the Democratic nomination.

What a jerk.

Comments (4)

Well, some of those engineers work on the nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers that patrol the seas, let's say. Additionally, they're working towards bringing safe nuclear power to the US, after we wake up from our neo-Luddite ways. If the French have nuclear power, certainly we can too.

Finally, I'm going to take a stab and say that full professors of nuclear engineering don't make much more than, say, tenured law professors at private schools. After all, they have to bring in grants to add to their base salary (not all that great) and as you say, there aren't so many grants for something that has brought us 'little public benefit.'

I'll add that I'm not so sure that Trojan is the source of our problems here, though.

They've done a great job on the waste issues, too.

I saw the same letter in the paper. I was astounded at the arguments about Trojan. Does this learned gentleman just not know the facts that the place was downright dangerous due to sloppy construction (cracked pipes, tools left in pipes,etc.). And he completely fails to respond to the issue of what to do with the waste products.

Interstingly, I spied an article in the Wall Street Jounral, I think yesterday, claiming that Euro Green Parties were practically embracing the nuclear option. Smells like a concerted publicity effort by the industry.

I'm under the impression (though I could be wrong) that Europeans have learned to live with nuclear power as a source of electricity and to not be irrationally afraid of it.

Perhaps the Euro general public (and the Greens in particular) have decided that nuclear power is far better for the environment than fossil fuels. I would love to hear if this indeed is the case.

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