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Thursday, June 23, 2011: Energy, the legal system and dog bites


Nearby nuclear development

I’ve read that French engineering group Areva wants to build a second nuclear power plant at Point Lepreau, New Brunswick to export power to the U.S. It’s to be a light-water reactor.

I wrote Sen. Snowe about it but only got back a form letter about energy, not mentioning anything I asked about, so now I write to BDN. I’ll blame her staff for glossing over letters.

The new reactor would be built next to Point Lepreau’s exisitng CANDU-6 heavy-water reactor just west of St. John, and only 19 miles as the crow flies to Eastport. What ever happened to neighbors telling each other what’s going on that can affect so many of us? Can someone report on this potential new reactor; and report thoroughly on the behind-schedule, billion-dollar budget for refurbishing the existing 40-year-old nuclear reactor?

I think the older reactor was supposed to be up and running by 2010, then 2011. I’ve read that light-water reactors can burn their own spent fuel. How much spent fuel is sitting at Point Lepreau after 40 years?

Locals and states should get monthly reports on repairs and incidents on local reactors, like a police report update that informs the public. I understand what sits in the fuel pool at the Maine Yankee can wipe out about 60,000 people in the area, but I guess, today, they only have to worry about such things in Japan. Right? The mighty Atlantic doesn’t rust or decay anything along the shore.

Fran Drabick


Offshore wind questions

The debate over the potential for offshore wind delivering Maine’s economy and its out-of-control energy costs ignores the reality that there are more questions than answers about the viability of this approach.

While England, Germany, Norway and other seaside European countries have nailed the physics and economics of using offshore wind, their turbines are sited in waters that, at most, are hundreds of feet deep. They are tethered to the sea floor. In Maine, 20 miles offshore the water is thousands of feet deep, which precludes tethering the turbine platforms. Free-floating platforms capable of coping with force-seven winds are a technology that doesn’t now exist.

Beyond that reality are the environmental issues of getting the electricity generated by these offshore turbines to the mainland. Such turbines, assuming the platform issues can be resolved, will generate both noise and vibration, not to mention electromagnetic fields associated with the underwater cables required to bring that energy to shore. How will these factors affect marine biology and the fishing industry upon which Maine relies?

Political short-sightedness dismantled Maine’s energy production infrastructure 12 years ago. Hydro dams were forced to be abandoned and Maine’s only nuclear power plant was forced to be dismantled. As a result, Maine’s residential electricity rates are among the highest in the nation, and they increase at double-digit percentage rates each year. Meanwhile, Maine is putting all of its energy eggs in one basket — the unproven and highly speculative notion that offshore wind will save the day.

Tom Walsh


In defense of Almy

District Attorney Chris Almy and I may have been adversaries for the past 30 years, but the suggestion that he or the courts may be responsible in any manner for the actions of Steven Lake is upsetting.

The state was prosecuting him for the threats that he clearly made. Threats which he apparently admitted to his father. He was on bail because it’s his constitutional right.

The judges in Maine are very concerned about the docket and speedy trial issues, but rural counties like Piscataquis have very limited jury-trial time for budgetary reasons. They may issue orders for protection and bail restrictions, but can’t prevent the violence of an abuser.

Julio De Sanctis
Old Town


Dog bite explanation

Before another pitbull has to be put down for biting a kid, how about seeing if the kid hadn’t done something to the dog first?

Not too long ago, I gave a small dog to a couple with a small boy. I’ve been told he’s a little mean to her, and I told his mother if she doesn’t make him stop, the dog comes back to me.

Gayle Milian

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