Ken JohnsonCONNECTING THE DOTSGrand Junction Free Press Opinion Columnist

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March 7, 2013
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JOHNSON: It'll take more than wind, solar to supply our needs

So many things happening it's hard to keep track of them. Even the important topics are whirling around in the news like water spiraling down the drain!

Guns. Mr. President, if you really think America needs even more laws to control or ban guns, how about YOU take a personal challenge? YOU pioneer the way to clean up the homicides happening daily in two towns YOU live in, Washington and Chicago. There were about two a day in Chicago last year. Add in Washington and you have 10% of the 11,000 or so of last year's homicides for the entire nation. If you cleaned up those two over-regulated death zones, the rest of the country would believe you. Then everyone could work to solve the problem instead of just ranting slogans and passing more dopey laws.

That disastrous $85 billion cut in federal spending. What a circus! Obama says he didn't say it was his idea; Congress says he did. The Pres says the cuts will ruin the country; Congress says we have to quit spending more than we make. The $16 trillion deficit will kill the country.This is great "sky is falling" news. When the Pres said we can have new programs and they won't add a dime to the deficit, he obviously meant we would pay more taxes. Congress said we're obliged to cut spending first.Oh, and they're reminding the Pres that they already agreed, back a couple of months at the famous "fiscal cliff," to $149 billion in new taxes. (There's evidence that these "cuts" aren't cuts, they are just nicks in the increase in spending.)Oops, apparently a $149 billion increase vs. $85 billion in reductions doesn't count! The spending for 2013 is $3.2 trillion, by the way.

Climate change and carbon. I was taken to task by a reader for promoting "dangerous" nuclear power generation. He called out all the dangers of anything atomic. He wants solar and wind power. So do I, by the way, but let's be realistic on costs and problems, too. For 40 years we've been brainwashed by media, government, movies, frothing-at-the-mouth environmentalists and vivid imaginations. There have been ZERO deaths and ZERO cancers due to anyone, civilian or military, being around nuclear power generation. Anyone can look that up.Even two years ago in that human-error meltdown at Fukushima, Japan, there were NO radiation deaths or cancers. The World Health Organization just reported that even residents hit by the highest doses of radiation face a cancer risk so small it won't be detectable.The repeated myth, replete with mixing atomic bombs (which are VERY fatal) and nuclear electric generation, doesn't address the carbon-loading problem, OR our national appetite for more and more energy of all sorts.On the radiation side, dial up the radioactive discharge in the smoke from, say, the Four Corners power plant, coal-fired. One of the particulates from THAT loaded-with-carbon smoke is radium. It comes with the coal and vents to the atmosphere.Those are facts. More important, unless we want to reduce our lifestyle dramatically we are still going to need EVERY power source, including fossil, for the next 20 years. That means coal, plus oil and gas and wind and solar and nuclear, regardless of our naive "green" hope that solar and wind can supply all our needs. That's unfortunately not possible now and maybe never!

The Tennessee Valley Authority plus Bechtel and Babcock & Wilcox have a deal with the Department of Energy to build the first commercial Small Modular Nuclear Reactor. DOE is providing up to $450 million to expedite the licensing process. Two projects were scheduled to be underway, so one may still be added. The modular reactors are safe, clean, produce no weapons material and could save many billions that big new plants cost. Remember that our Navy has been nuclear-powered since the 1960s, with ZERO deaths and zero cancers on our aircraft carriers and submarines. Gee, I'll bet those small, modular reactors could power the entire Grand Valley, too! Ken is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 7, 2013 12:37PM Published Mar 7, 2013 12:35PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.