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Letters: Nuclear power has too many drawbacks; Exarchos cares about Centre County tax dollars

Nuclear power is too expensive to finance

I am concerned that recent Centre Daily Times articles on a proposed bailout of Pennsylvania’s commercial nuclear utilities cited climate change as a reason the citizens of the commonwealth should support a costly proposal by state legislators. For one thing, such reasoning underestimates the possible role of other climate change measures, such as fuel switching, renewable energies and energy saving.

Policymakers and owners of economically vulnerable nuclear plants should consider the cost and feasibility of such a range of options, and when weighing them, consider the magnitude and timing of carbon reduction for each, the respective costs, and the extent to which they will spur technology innovation.

In the dawn of the nuclear era, cost was expected to be one of the commercial technology’s advantages, not one of its drawbacks. Instead of being “too cheap to meter,” we have learned that nuclear power is, instead, too expensive to finance. Hostage ratepayers just finished paying off $9 billion ($14 million in 2018 dollars) to nuclear utilities based on restructuring from 20 years ago, which equals the total Pennsylvania customers paid for electricity last year!

Nuclear reactors here were built with technologies that are at least 30 years old, and commonwealth facilities are thus not equipped with state-of-the-art “passive safety systems,” although even with the latter, I think advocates underestimate the risks of nuclear power generation. We should have decommissioned all nukes in our state after Three Mile Island’s partial meltdown in 1979.

Douglas M. Mason, Port Matilda. The author is the chairman of the Centre County Green Party.

Deanna Behring has unique perspective

We are ecstatic that Deanna Behring is running for State College Borough Council. We’ve known Deanna both personally and professionally, having the good fortune of working under her leadership at Penn State for over a decade.

Deanna began her career in Washington, D.C., holding leadership roles within the CIA and the Clinton White House. When she and her husband decided to start a family, they chose to move to Happy Valley. Deanna joined Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences as the director of international programs. Under Deanna’s leadership, the office grew from a staff of 1 to 10, increased annual research funding from $300,000 up to about $6 million, and now sends an astounding 20% of Ag students abroad, up from 0.5% when she started. Her vision and hard work has yielded international food safety and gender equity initiatives, and $1.5 million in donor funding to offset the cost of study abroad for students. Deanna did all of this while raising two daughters and completing her own PhD program in December 2015!

Deanna cares deeply about the State College community and wants to give back to the place that has given her family so much. Her wealth of experience in government and her work with the international community at Penn State gives her a unique perspective on her platform issues of environment, economy and equity. Deanna is a thoughtful, visionary leader who truly enriches every life she touches. If given the chance, she’ll do the same for the Borough.

Michelle Haagen and Melanie Gilbert, San Francisco, California. The authors are former employees of the Penn State College of Ag Sciences.

Exarchos cares about Centre County tax dollars

On May 21, I am voting for Chris Exarchos for Centre County Commissioner. Mark your calendars and do your homework. Your vote is extremely important and in this 2019 county election, your vote counts more so than ever. The decisions made at the commissioner level affect every county citizen. Chris Exarchos cares about what happens in Centre County. Chris Exarchos cares about each one of our tax dollars. He has never raised taxes.

Irv Hoy, Howard