Sunday letters: Nuclear waste at Zion well secured

SHARE Sunday letters: Nuclear waste at Zion well secured

The Zion nuclear power plant, which was closed in 1998, can be seen on the lakefront on Dec. 21, 2016. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Your Jan. 9 editorial “Three ways to ease Zion’s nuclear waste burden” expresses the frustration felt within the U.S. nuclear energy industry at the U.S. government’s failure to fulfill its legal obligation to remove used nuclear fuel from plant sites to a permanent repository. However, your assertion about the security of used fuel on the Zion site is not accurate.

A comprehensive study “Deterring Terrorism Aircraft Crash Impact Analyses” done by the Electric Power Research Institute ( following the 9/11 attacks conclusively determined that nuclear plant containment structures, including the concrete and steel canisters containing the used fuel assemblies, would not be breached. The state-of-the-art computer modeling analyses revealed there would be no release of radioactivity to the environment despite some concrete crushing and bent steel.

It is imperative that the federal government embrace an integrated strategy for used fuel disposal that in parallel would include a consolidated storage facility for used nuclear fuel and completion of the review of the Yucca Mountain repository licensing application. Used fuel from shutdown commercial reactor sites without an operating reactor, such as Zion, should have priority when shipping commercial used fuel to the storage facility.

Joseph E. Pollock

Vice President, Nuclear Operations

Acting Chief Nuclear Officer

Nuclear Energy Institute

Washington, DC

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Trump proving unfitness instantly

I’ve lived thru some truly sad days in American history among my 26,225 and counting. But never have I witnessed a man who is about to assume the presidency display his unfitness to hold office in such clear and striking fashion as Trump did in his first post-election news conference. He revealed his unfitness as Republican candidate and Republican nominee, but ascended to the presidency with a minority vote and a demogogic appeal to the electorate, securing his election with a mere 80,000 votes in three swing states.

But that won’t save him from the self-destructive character and temperament on full display to the American people last Wednesday. Richard Nixon, arguably the most temperamentally unfit man to achieve the presidency, hid his character flaws through his first term and reelection before self destructing. Trump’s character flaws have been on display since he announced his candidacy 18 months ago.

Only two questions remain. How long will it take Trump to self destruct? How much damage will he do to America and the world before he does?

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

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