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Nuclear risk payments
When CP&L spokesman Keith Poston wrote his letter to The Independent [Back Talk, Dec. 19] saying, "At CP&L, safety is our top priority," he wanted us to imagine that a PR slogan equates with actual policy. Far from it. Profit outranks safety for CP&L, or they would long ago have agreed to use the safer and slightly more expensive dry storage option to protect the public from waste storage disasters.

"Sorry is as sorry does!" is a quote I remember from the late troubadour and humorist Gamble Rogers. Rogers gave his life trying to save a drowning swimmer. But if CP&L's gamble on a cheaper storage system ends up killing people while destroying the state's economy, the utility will be protected by artificial limits on liability, and will not drown in debt to cover our costs and injuries. We will. Unless it's more profitable to declare bankruptcy, the corporation will live on while others die, or become refugees.

Among the many subsidies for nuclear power, some hide the costs, while others reveal them. A big green light for reckless policy appears in the fine print of North Carolina Homeowner Insurance policies. In case of nuclear contamination, we are simply left without coverage.

The educational effect of a nuclear risk surcharge on our insurance bill has been lifted in order to protect corporations from an honest marketplace. The risks that neither utility nor insurance companies can afford--those risks have craftily been handed to us.

If September's terrorists had targeted nuclear plants instead of the Trade Towers, only luck or dry storage with its wide separation of waste rods could have protected us from a massive and permanent catastrophe. Dry storage has no moving parts to fail. And if we insist on this safer storage, we can avoid the lunatic game in which trigger-happy missile cowboys may "have to" shoot down RDU airline traffic that strays too close to the Harris plant during approach or takeoff.
--JERRY MARKATOS, PITTSBORO

'Tis the season
Derek Jennings, I agree with every word you've written in "Season of Giving--and Taking," [Dec. 19]. Thank you. Your outrage lunges from the page.

An observation, please: You wrote, "If we are to truly eliminate hunger and poverty ... "

You and I know--and millions refuse to admit--that there is not one iota of desire to eliminate hunger and poverty among the ordinary people on the planet. Those who have power--with the unconscious assent by the billions--owe their parasitic lives to the hungry and poor.

Only when awareness reaches critical mass will the rule of greed diminish and disappear. Situations such as Argentina and the malignancy of capitalistic greed worldwide have not brought enough people to the realization of our continuing slavery, everywhere.

I always enjoy your articles. Be aware/careful. The goons will knock on your door, as well.
--GWENDOLINE Y. FORTUNE, SAXAPAHAW

Anti-headline
I noticed your headline for the Act Now [Jan. 2] anti-death penalty actions, "A Pro-life Rally Not To Miss." Could you perhaps substitute other words next time?

The phrase "pro-life" is unfortunately linked with the anti-choice radicals who oppose abortion rights for women. (Although they obviously don't care too much about women's lives!)

Surely a progressive newspaper like The Independent does not want to align itself--by accident--with those who insist on turning back the clock on women's rights?

Something to consider.
--KATHY RUFFNER-LINN, RALEIGH

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