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Voices / Letters from readers

In praise of ‘a wise mix’

The writer is a retired environmental scientist who worked at Vermont Yankee from 1972 to 1996. He holds a doctorate in zoology.

In my opinion, it is not a good idea to turn the Vermont Yankee site into a so-called “green field,” whatever that means. The site is much too valuable as an electricity generating center or hub.

All of the essential infrastructure and components are already in place, most going back to 1972 and before. These include the transmission switchyard, substation, big transformers, cooling water intake and discharge structures, aquatic and terrestrial environmental assessments, geologic and seismic assessments, groundwater studies — the list could go on and on.

The site should remain ready to accommodate future electricity generation possibilities, including photovoltaic solar, natural gas, biomass, a new generation of advanced, passively cooled/safe, small, modular, standardized fission reactors, or maybe, someday in the distant future, a demonstration/test nuclear fusion reactor.

VY has been a good plant — low-impact, virtually zero carbon emissions for the past 40 years — but it is old technology and should retire and make way for the future.

The “greenies” want to put all of their eggs into the smart grid/renewables (wind and solar) basket, which I think is unwise.

Our near-term electric energy future, I believe, should consist of a wise mix of new-generation nuclear, solar, and wind. I am firmly opposed to coal-fired generation. The term “clean coal” is an oxymoron.

Dr. Daniel Marx

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Originally published in The Commons issue #235 (Wednesday, January 1, 2014). This story appeared on page C2.

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