Converting Nuclear Weapons into Energy

Article excerpt

In the opinion-page article "Reinvent Federal Energy Policy, Too," Jan. 5, the author makes a case for "dramatically shifting federal research dollars away from polluting sources of energy such as nuclear power, coal, and oil toward energy efficiency and {unnamed} clean, renewable sources." Unfortunately, it comes across in the context of a conflict of "us" (public interest, environmental groups) versus "them" (public utility, energy industry, business groups) that has become outdated.

The foremost environmental problem is how to reduce the world's huge nuclear stockpile to manageable proportions. Recently the United States agreed to assist the former Soviet Union in destroying its weapons by buying the contained uranium and plutonium for use as fuel in nuclear power plants. Since the US has in place an enormous stockpile of depleted uranium, a by-product of the enrichment process, it has a unique capability to dilute weapons material to reactor fuel.

The foremost cause of air pollution in the US is the use of fossil fuels in motor vehicles. …