Letters to the Editor 6/23/11
Nuclear power and prisons
OPTIMISM WE CAN’T AFFORD
Rachel Wells’ excellent June 2 article on nuclear safety [see “The nuke next door: Is the Clinton nuclear power plant prepared for a Fukushima-level disaster?”] demonstrated both the complexity of the planning involved in dealing with nuclear disasters, and some of the existing deficiencies.
Our organization met with Gov. Pat Quinn on April 4 to discuss flaws we observed in current planning, and suggested formation of a citizens advisory panel to give nuclear safety and disaster response a thorough independent review. We made the same suggestion to a joint Illinois House Committee session on May 4. Neither has responded to this recommendation to date.
An insider joke quips that the one thing you DON’T want inside the control room during a nuclear disaster is – an optimist. Wells’ article demonstrates optimism to be the institutional mindset of state government and many people responsible for nuclear safety: WAIT for something to go wrong, then act. Illinois cannot afford such complacency. Whatever has already happened – as it has at Fukushima – must therefore be possible.
With four Illinois reactors with designs similar to those at Fukushima, such optimism is not an option.
David A. Kraft, director
Nuclear Energy Information Service
PRISONS & PRIORITIES
In order to get a budget passed for 2012, politicians cut back on education funding. Then in 2012 to get a 2013 budget, they will say that they have to cut education funds again. Why would anyone expect anything different? It’s been like this for years.
How much more can we take from the schools and still expect teachers to produce educated kids? I believe education is a key factor in raising a successful young adult and the lack thereof is a big factor in the rising crime rate.
The Illinois Department of Corrections’ 2009 annual report states that the average daily population was 45,551 offenders with an average cost at Logan Correctional Center of about $18,000 per year for each of its 1,900 offenders.
I’m all for keeping violent offenders off our streets, but when I read in the 2009 report that the IDOC was housing 1,076 offenders for retail theft, 640 for vehicle code violations (no insurance or license), 633 for cannabis violations, 50 for disorderly conduct, 596 for fraud, and 1,221 for DUI, a total of more than 4,200 at a cost of more than $75 million per year, I realized where our politicians can go looking for funds that can be better spent on education.
James Paul Miller, #A92410
Logan Correctional Center
CORREX: Last week’s cover story, “Rebirth of a rivertown: Signs of life in Cairo,” contains an error. It said the federal government purchased the Missouri land that was eventually flooded by the blown levee. That is incorrect. The federal government actually purchased an easement from the landowners, absolving the government of damages in the event that the levee was blown.
Though the government was not able to obtain easements for all of the land, the court held that the owners of the land without easements were already entitled to damages through a separate law, noting that the disputed land was already subject to natural flooding. The court essentially said the landowners had no reason to file a lawsuit to stop the levee from being blown up. We apologize for the incorrect information.
Also, regarding our June 16 article on the Illinois Symphony garden tour, Adam Woodruff wrote to say that he was the designer of the Bank of Springfield garden from 2004-2010 and is not currently involved with it.