Letter: Safe alternatives to nuclear fission

(Thomas Burr | Tribune file photo) A statue of Philo T. Farnsworth, called the father of television, in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center.

Don Gale’s Dec. 14 essay, “Climate change leaves us on thin ice,” contains some glaring misinformation.

Philo Farnsworth wasn’t working on “cold fusion.” He was working on nuclear fusion (hot plasma). Work on his “Fusor” reactor design continues with the Polywell reactor, but remains 20-plus years in the future.

It is irresponsible for Don to bring up nuclear fission without mentioning the seriousness of its radioactive byproducts, some of which have a half-life of 200,000 years. Radioactive reactor garbage is an environmental catastrophe that has no solution. Chernobyl accidents will always happen.

Don’s prejudices against batteries are not based on scientific fact. The 100MW South Australian Hornsdale Power Reserve is just one of many successful utility battery storage installations. Cheap battery recycling is a strategic part of Tesla’s corporate plan.

Our leaders let the rooftop solar industry become stillborn by allowing the demise of net metering. There are no wind turbines in our canyons.

Urban pollution has decreased 20-30% during the pandemic, proving consumer choices do matter. We can switch to LED lighting and on-demand water heaters. Electric vehicles are quiet and don’t pollute when stuck in traffic. Don, I bought solar panels and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. How are you helping?

Scot Morgan, Salt Lake City

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