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What Bermuda needs is a nuclear power plant

May 13, 2013

Dear Sir,

I have been to Bermuda many times since my early visits in the 60s. I have seen it grow, yet retain its charm and beauty. But, with progress, immigration, and population growth, comes financial strains.

Oil prices have remained high in the US, but they are quite high in Bermuda. In my opinion, based upon extensive economic research, oil prices are killing the economy in Bermuda. So what to do?

Imagine if everyone, including hotels and businesses, had their electric bill cut in half or into thirds. That savings alone would stimulate your sagging economy. Millions of dollars of disposable income would instantly be thrust into the hands of Bermudians. The government could quit borrowing money, an insidious road to disaster.

The Island can be saved by simply installing a nuclear reactor or two micro-reactors. The technology today has made them virtually 100 percent safe. The power is cheap, plentiful and constant.

Oil price fluctuations will no longer affect your fragile economy. Electric cars will become feasible. Prices for everything will come down. Desalination plants will be able to expand and produce more water. All those distant dream projects of restoring Dockyard, dredging harbours, upgrading hotels, etc will become feasible.

I believe the government owns the old US Navy base. That land would be perfect for the nuke plant. I know there is some contamination there, but what does it matter if a power plant goes in. Today, there are available reactors of a very small size that could power up to 45,000 homes. That should easily cover Bermuda.

Most people are frightened of the concept of living near a nuclear reactor. As a reactor operator on a US Navy fast attack submarine, I lived and worked within ten feet of a nuclear reactor for seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for almost four years. Over that time, I received less radiation that I would have if I stayed on land. You see, our environment is rife with radioactive isotopes which we eat and breathe in every day. Knowledge relieves fear.

So how do you pay for this power plant? How will you pay for any new technology?

An option that should be considered would be to sell private shares to the potential homeowners. This would get them involved. They not only could pay much cheaper electric bills, but receive dividends as well. They should also be involved in its operation and profit structure.

As back up, the existing fossil fuel power plant could be kept functional with a skeleton crew in case of any unforeseen emergencies.

Recently, I read in

The Royal Gazzette that the government is looking into alternative energy sources. Those sources need to be researched very well. For instance, the number of solar panels required to power the Island would cover a large portion of the Island. How many homeowners want to cover their beautiful white roofs with ugly black panels.

You can forget tidal power. With only three to four foot tides, you’d have to cover half the Atlantic with very expensive machines. Tides of over 15 ft are needed to get any sustainable power.

Let’s look at wind power. Lack of consistent wind requires huge banks of batteries or a back up fossil fuel plant. Do you have room for 1,000 ugly rotating towers? Way too environmentally expensive. Way too many health issues in humans.

A little background on me; I have operated nuclear reactors, repaired and calibrated all the auxiliary reactor systems, built reactor fuel loaded components and control rods, and have extensive experience in radiological controls of those reactors.

By the way, has a complete 360 degree radiological survey been performed on your new container X-ray scanner? I am willing to guess that more stray radiation is emitted from that scanner than our nuclear submarine.

DICK SCHLUETER

Clinton CT

Morgan's Point. Our letter writer believes that this would be the ideal spot for Bermuda's first nuclear power plant.

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Published May 15, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm)

What Bermuda needs is a nuclear power plant

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