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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: A role for small nuclear power

By Linda Schrom, Vancouver
Published: April 20, 2024, 6:00am

Everything that George Vaughan writes about small modular reactor nuclear power is untrue (“Reject nuclear energy,” Our Readers’ Views, April 11).

Unproven as a producer of electricity? The first SMRs were built by U.S. Navy Adm. Rickover’s team in 1954. One was installed at the Shippingport, Pa., power station to supplement the existing coal-powered plant. So SMRs have been reliably and safely producing electric power for 70 years.

It does not take years for construction. Globally, there are now 71 SMR nuclear plants operating, being built or under design. And the GE-Hitachi SMR takes two to three years to build.

There is a waste problem, but it is a political one, not a safety one. The coal, oil and gas industries have spent millions of dollars on antinuclear disinformation that has successfully turned many members of the public against nuclear power, thus preventing storage programs being implemented.

Finally, solar, wind and hydro are not the answer. As The Columbian wrote in a July 2022 editorial, “Climate scientists say, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.”

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter