The Numbers on Nuclear Power Just Don't Add Up

Regarding "Going Nuclear" (Currents, Oct. 30), reporter Hank Stephenson did a good job of exposing the gung-ho-with-no-facts mentality of some of the Republicans vying for state office. These people have no clue about the poor economics of nukes, nor:

  • nuclear waste storage-plan failures;
  • the massive water consumption of nukes;
  • plummeting worldwide ore grades of uranium;
  • the worldwide failure of reprocessing and breeder-reactor programs;
  • routine gaseous releases of radioactive isotopes into our air and water;
  • the failure of France's reactor program, where fossil fuels in the region outperform nuclear economics, even with massive nuclear subsidies;
  • France's pipeline into the ocean near Normandy, with a waste stream that runs all the way to the Arctic Circle;
  • that 18 of the 20 steps of the nuclear-fuel cycle consume fossil fuels, creating CO2 emissions.

I should point out that the explanation on reprocessing was oversimplified. To clarify, it is not just the separation of low-level from high-level uranium. Reprocessing involves mechanically, electrically and chemically separating out many of the 100-plus isotopes from the spent nuclear waste to concentrate them into a matrix of mixed oxides (MOX) and then blending MOX with fresh uranium fuel. The world's No. 1 reprocessor, France, has only gotten up to a measly 10 percent of their fuel supplies with MOX fuel.

Nuclear-fission power, the kind John McCain wanted more of, is a failed 20th-century technology. Let's go with renewables and energy efficiencies.

Russell J. Lowes, Research director,

Want Some Fantastic Tamales and Chiles Rellenos? Head for a Supermarket Parking Lot--or Blythe!

After moving to Tucson 33 years ago, I spent several years searching for the best chiles rellenos and tamales ("Chiles Saliva-tion," Books, Oct. 30). The best tamales were at El Rapido downtown until Tony closed years ago.

Now the best tamales are sold in supermarket parking lots. The best chiles rellenos I know of are at Amapola in Blythe. It was closed for a while but has reopened at a new location. Their rellenos are a gloppy mess without much breading (stylistically much different than regular rellenos), but they are fabulous. It's only a 10-hour drive, round-trip.

By the way, the best green chile con carne is at Ochoa's in Casa Grande.

Mike Carpenter

The Answer to Immigration, Illegal-Employment Problems: More Birth Control

I read the usual diatribe about how cruel the United States is for arresting those illegal workers at Panda Express ("The Panda Express 11," Nov. 6). The fact is that Mexico has an overpopulation problem, but it is not the job of the United States to do anything about it. It is Mexico's problem, and a simple solution is available if they made use of it.

The solution is to make birth control available to everyone. At the moment, the rich get it by going to the United States. That isn't an option to the poor, and we see the results. What the political leaders should do (ha, ha, ha) is tell the pope: "You don't want birth control. OK, so we will send the bill for birth costs, education, food, clothing, etc., right to Rome.

If they did this, it wouldn't take but a week or two, and birth control would become ubiquitous in Mexico. Naturally, it won't happen, but it would work.

Stuart A. Hoenig

Obama Should Forget About Finding bin Laden and Focus on More Pressing Issues

I usually agree with Tom Danehy and like his column, but I must take issue with his insistence that one of President-elect Barack Obama's first chores should be to "get Osama bin Laden" (Nov. 6). It will not be his first priority, nor should it be. Sept. 11, 2001, was a long time ago, and the trail has gotten as cold as the top of Mount Everest.

What difference does it make at this point? Mention bin Laden's name to a junior-high-age kid, and he'll probably think bin Laden is some rap artist he's overlooked. Even after all this time, you could send a million uniforms into that part of the world, and you will still come up empty-handed. In other words, if we haven't gotten him by now, we won't. He's too well-hidden.

I can't see risking one more life for more of a wild-goose chase. We have many more pressing items at home. Let's concentrate on these immediate problems instead of wasting more of anything on something resembling a search for the Loch Ness Monster. In case Tom still hasn't had enough blood, I'm sure the Pentagon will be happy to release the figures of all of the other Middle Eastern people we've killed, guilty or innocent, during our seven-year vendetta.

By the way, I'm a former U.S. Marine, and I served a tour in Vietnam (in 1968). I know what the meaning of futility is.

Doug Alborn


Due to an error in the editorial process, the photo associated with "Mai Tai Time" (City Week, Oct. 30) had an incorrect caption. The gentleman pictured is AmoChip Dabney, of Tucson's The Les Baxter Factor band. The Les Baxter mentioned in the piece was a musician who passed away in 1996. We apologize for the mistake.
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