ECOLOGIST'S PERSPECTIVE ON ELECTRICAL POWER. Page: 1 of 10
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AN ECOLOGIST'S PERSPECTIVE ON ELECTRICAL POWER
G. M. Woodwell
Biology Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Uepton, New York 11973
The issues of the environmental crisis have been explored and re-
explored in recent years to the point where it is understandable that many
of my colleagues on this program express impatience with further exploration.
Professor Williams' discussion of the imminent problems of the next
generation of power reactors emphasizes nonetheless the need to consider
again two of these issues. Williams has discussed the difficulties of
regulation of atomic energy used in the production of power. There appears
to be a broad consensus among those experienced with reactors that, if we
follow the rules, nuclear power can be used safely and probably with less
direct damage to the environment than an equivalent amount of energy pro-
duced from fossil fuels. But Professor Williams has shown that the rules
are extraordinarily complex, reflecting a complex technology. There are
potentially large profits to be made by violating the rules. It seems
clear that we are entering the era of the breeder reactor with some
assumptions, not only about the efficacy of a technology but also about
the behavior of people. We assume that the reactors will work and that the
Comments of G.M.W. at Sierra Club Conference on Power, Johnson, Vermont,
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Woodwell, G.M. ECOLOGIST'S PERSPECTIVE ON ELECTRICAL POWER., report, April 30, 1973; Upton, New York. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1030494/m1/1/: accessed April 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.