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Is There a Safe Way to Dispose of Nuclear Waste?

It is ironic that a full-page ad headlined "Our Need For More Nuclear Energy Is Up In the Air," should appear in the same issue of the paper as the article "Cost of Nuclear Waste Cleanup in the Billions," April 8, about the Department of Energy's Hanford nuclear weapons plant near Richland, Wash.

It may be true, as the US Council for Energy Awareness claims, that "Nuclear Energy Means Cleaner Air," but until there are reliable facilities for permanent disposal of spent fuel rods and dismantled reactor cores, nuclear energy, like nuclear weapons production, will mean contaminated soil and water. Jean Knox Gibb, Rockport, Mass.

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Clearly the environmental messages of these two pages are conflicting.

As a result of the 625,000 cubic meters of radioactive solid waste and the 200 square miles of polluted ground water, the people of Richland, Wash., face a very real threat of water contamination. One then asks: "Why would the citizens of Richland really be concerned about nuclear power for cleaner air?"

This promotion for nuclear power by the US Council for Energy Awareness is most likely linked to the fact that the Bush Administration wants to build 100 new nuclear power plants as well as continue operation of existing plants which may be unsafe. This means approximately $400 billion will be spent for nuclear technology that creates waste which no one really knows how to dispose of safely, not forgetting nuclear technology has historically proven to be unsafe and environmentally disastrous.

The energy industries, the Bush administration, and the US Council for Energy Awareness, all need to understand and act in response to environmental issues, rather than use them as misleading propaganda for an energy policy lacking technical, environmental, and economic feasibility. Richard Hofmeister II, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Why doesn't this country harness the wind, as parts of California are already doing? There is no environmental damage, and the supply of wind is limitless. Sylvie M. Danzenbaker, Linwood, N.J. Educating Brazil's children

Regarding the article "Human Rights Groups Denounce Brazil Roundup of Street Children," March 18: There is no doubt that Brazilian children should be allowed basic individual rights of freedom. They do not, however, have the right to commit violent crimes against others.

It is just as obvious that lowering the age of adulthood to 16, in order to make prosecuting teenagers easier, is not the answer.

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The issue is larger than that of mere teenage street crime. It is a reflection of Brazilian problems with the poor and uneducated.

There must be more emphasis on programs geared to educate young people and also on penalties for the adults who exploit them. While violent crime cannot go unpunished, reformative measures cannot be ignored. LaShawn Howell, Loretto, Tenn.

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