Thursday, August 21, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 4
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Not learning a foreign language.
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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Draw your own conclusions

Charlee Smith - Templeton -


IMAGE COURTESY OF NOAA

On Monday, Aug. 18, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last month was the fourth-hottest July on record. They included a world map showing the temperature departure from average for July 2014. This data, however, is in respect to a 1981-2010 base period. It seems these scientists don’t want the public to see the whole picture by using U.S. data for the past 130 years (see the accompanying graph). It documents a warming trend, but it also shows that temperatures are cyclic, and that temperature spikes are nothing new. Both the United States and the world have seen a 1.4 degrees F rise in temperatures during this period, so using U.S. data is not misleading and probably is more accurate.

The discourse on climate change in New Times over the past two months has been almost entirely opinions and personal attacks, with very little facts. Hopefully the NOAA graph will present a clearer picture from which your readers can draw their own conclusions.


That wave was needlessly exaggerated

Marty Wright - Atascadero -

Regarding the New Times cover page from Aug. 7 (“Diablo and the deep blue sea”), I want to admonish New Times for once again placing the citizens of San Luis Obispo County into a needless state of anxiety and paralysis. All of us who passed by the New Times cover artwork this past week now have an indelible image of a 1,012-foot (measured to scale) tidal wave crashing down on Diablo Canyon. To keep New Times reporting in perspective, this New Times 1,012-foot tidal wave would also kill about 30 million people and completely destroy most of the West Coast inland to the Cascade Mountain Range. Funny how artwork of a Tohoku 45-foot tsunami splashing up against an 85-foot Central Coast cliff does not generate the same readership.

Oh, by the way, the mere mention of a fault should not immediately cause alarm. Most of our homes and businesses are built on top of or very close to fault planes; so it depends on the fault type and fault size as to how much anxiety I have when I go to sleep at night. The environs around Diablo Canyon are some of the most seismically studied locations in the state, so I would actually want to be within Diablo Canyon structures during a seismic event, as it would be the safest location in the county with all the seismic bracing and supports.

With that said, I have absolutely no doubt that the NRC is extremely sensitive to nuclear power public safety. Evidence of the NRC’s commitment to public safety can be viewed within the nuclear industry exposure data. U.S. nuclear power plants continue to reduce public exposures to magnitudes well below NRC and EPA regulated safe values. I sometimes wonder why the same cannot be said for the public exposures due to medical and industrial radiological industries, which completely overshadow any perceived risk from a postulated tidal wave at Diablo Canyon.

This New Times truther, Luddite-type article did not really say anything new other than OMG and claim a conspiracy. As an electric rate-payer, I’m tired of seeing my electric bill increase because of all the wildly exaggerated and never ending “what-if’s” expressed by anti-nukes who do not understand the differences between foreign and U.S. nuclear plants. As an environmentalist with climate change concerns, our U.S. energy mix must include nuclear along with solar, hydro, and minimal combustion generation. With electric use projected to rise by 30 percent in the next 15 years, wind and solar simply will not meet the demand quantity nor consistency. Emotions aside, we must come together and start a commonsense reality energy mix discussion soon.