Robert Boyle's revealing article (The Nukes Are In Hot Water, Jan. 20) should be reprinted and sent to every state fish and game commission. In addition to thermal pollution, nuclear plants of large size have another disadvantage, particularly when they are clustered. Scientists at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York, Albany, have calculated that if Con Edison is allowed to nest six giant reactors in the Indian Point neighborhood, 24 miles north of New York City, the weather in the lower Hudson River Valley will be adversely affected. Under certain atmospheric conditions, fogs 400 feet deep will form for miles up and down river. There will be fewer days of good weather for sportsmen, hazards to navigation and icing along valley roads during the winter.
This holds true regardless of whether the utility dumps the hot water in the river, which appears to be its present intention, or resorts to cooling towers before returning the water. Present inefficient nuclear reactors must dissipate so much heat that it will change the weather no matter how it is discharged—into the river or into the air via cooling towers.
The far greater danger from nuclear power plants, however, is the gradual pollution of the environment from low-level radioactive wastes which all present plants routinely discharge into the air and water. How these materials are absorbed and concentrated by aquatic organisms is not fully understood, but some of them travel through the food chain in the same manner as does DDT and wind up permeating all forms of life, including man. Let us be spared this new and perhaps ultimate class of pollutants.
Conservation Center for Westchester
White Plains, N.Y.
Nuclear News is indeed honored to have its name mentioned in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED; however, I am writing to assure your readers that the "couldn't care less" reference in your "nukes" article does not apply to us, because we care a great deal. The column from which Robert Boyle took his so-called "joke" is an obvious satire and one that is also labeled as such. It ridicules the very attitude your writer says we are encouraging. Thermal effects from nuclear power plants "prompt no laugh-in" with us either, and we devote serious editorial material to this subject in almost every issue. For the latest, most objective and authentic statement on the problem—what it is, how bad it is and what may be expected in the future—your attention is invited to a recent report by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology, "Considerations Affecting Steam Power Plant Site Selection," which is available to your every reader for $1.25 from the Superintendent of Documents. This report is indicative that the appropriate authorities are aware of the problem, are doing extensive research on it and are making positive recommendations on how the power industry can meet the water-quality criteria required to save the environment your author says we are out to destroy.
As a longtime subscriber to your fine magazine I find it unfortunate that my first letter must be a complaint about The Nukes Are In Hot Water.
As a journalism student and former newsman I have always been taught to check my facts. Obviously Mr. Boyle didn't or he would have found that the Millstone Point plant is not being built by United Illuminating but by the operating companies of Northeast Utilities—The Connecticut Light and Power Company, The Hartford Electric Light Company and Western Massachusetts Electric Company.
He also would have found that the young canoeists who checked Connecticut River temperatures were using standard thermometers, hardly the most sophisticated measuring instruments.
WILLIAM J. KEVENEY
North Haven, Conn.
?Northeast Utilities, which now also includes Holyoke Water Power Company, is the builder of the Millstone Point plant. Connecticut Yankee officials concede that on the day river temperatures were tested by the canoeists the discharge reading was 97�, but they dispute the low reading of 72� 1,000 yards upstream. An incontestable fact: there was plenty of hot water around and below the nuke.—ED.
Allow me to congratulate you on Mr. Boyle's excellent article on the dangers of thermal pollution. This is a problem which will increase as increasing population pressures make the demands for power go ever higher. As the article points out, thermal pollution research is a rather new area and there is much to be learned. It seems to me that having learned the lessons we have from indiscriminate use of pesticides and other things that have meddled with the ecological balance of the planet, we would be very careful to determine in advance the effects of thermal pollution before we go blindly ahead building the plants.
The article was a shocking eye-opener. It is unfortunate that, with such obvious injustices being committed by certain industries, more pressure has not been brought from higher echelons. The bills being sponsored by Senator Kennedy and Representative Ottinger require immediate consideration.
ALBERT M. PAVESE
West Point, N.Y.