To the Editor:
I would like to address some flaws in Irucka Embry's April 11 editorial about the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He stated taxpayers have a right to be on government property. Our
taxes pay for Y-12, but they also pay for things like the White House. No one would expect to be allowed to roam about the White House at leisure. The Anderson County district attorney asked the Oak Ridge chief of police that protesters not be arrested a
nd subjected to prosecution. However, when people were lying in the road blocking traffic in and out of Y-12, the Oak Ridge police arrested the protesters and sent them to be processed and discharged.
Secondly, Mr. Embry asked, albeit rhetorically, What
is the connection between Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory? What is the connection? There isn't one, sinister or otherwise. Two different contractors run the plants. ORNL is not in the weapons business; it is a research and development lab. The sus
tainability of nuclear power was also questioned. Until fusion power plants become more practicable, nuclear fission will provide a dependable, safe, and clean power source.
The modern concept in nuclear power plants has modular, standardized design and f
ail-safe reactors. The design is one that can be standardized, thoroughly tested and applied anywhere. Any worker trained on one installation can operate any other plant. Reactors can and will be designed to have a negative temperature coefficient of crit
icality. If coolant is lost (as at Three Mile Island) and the core temperature starts to go up, the rate of nuclear fission will be cut back and the power level stabilized with no operator intervention.
As someone from Oak Ridge, I do not feel that I have
been lied to by the U.S. Department of Energy or any other entity about the dangers of nuclear waste or about what goes on at Y-12. How do you lie to people who know what they are doing? People who work in Oak Ridge have the technical knowledge to know t
he dangers. They do not have to blindly rely on DOE.