Our Glowing Future | Letters | Chicago Reader

Our Glowing Future 

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To the editors:

Harold Henderson and James Krohe, Jr., [City File, October 5] have ignored the significant role nuclear energy has played in reducing the dependence of Japan and Europe on imported oil. After the OPEC embargo, Japan and several European countries, France in particular, began crash programs to construct nuclear generating stations. Before the boycott, Japan's electricity generating fuel mix was 65% oil and 10% nuclear. Today it is approximately 25% oil and 30% nuclear.

Another factor the writers ignored was the increase in electrification which reduced consumption of primary fuels, particularly oil. In Japan, and in Europe, major investments were also undertaken in the transportation sector as new, all-electric high speed rail services were introduced. In Japan and Europe, and in the United States, the total use of oil has been declining since 1973 and the consumption of electricity has been increasing.

France's goal of energy independence was one of the most comprehensive. In 1973, that country was generating 40% of its electricity with hydroelectric power, 30% with coal, 20% with oil and 10% with nuclear. The oil was imported, the coal was either imported or of a low grade domestic variety with air quality problems, and there was growing opposition to the effects on rivers and lakes from any increases in hydroelectric power. Today France generates over 80% of its electricity with nuclear power and none with oil. It depends on no other countries for fuel to generate its electricity.

The role that nuclear power has played and should continue to play in reducing dependence on imported oil cannot be overlooked.

Gary Wald

Nuclear Communications Administrator

Commonwealth Edison

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