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August 08, 1975 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-08-08

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The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Friday, August 8, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552
Risks outweigh rewards
HE ENERGY DEBACLE has haunted and confounded
federal administrators and industry leaders for several
years now. Apparently, the pressuresof maintaining con-
sumption rates in the face of depleting conventional
energy resources has moved the nation's planners to set
out across a nuclear power gamut that could well threaten
the health and possibly delimit the number of future
generations.
The national blueprint for expanding nuclear plants
-present government plans call for upping the number
of plants from 55 to 830 by the year 2000--reflects both
a dangerous vulnerability to the traditional demands of
continuous growth economy and a callous disregard for
some of the nation's. most reputable scientists who have
vainly warned against and documented the dangers of
nuclear power.
This week, in fact, a group of 2,300 members of the
American scientific community placed their names on a
petition asking the government to severely curtail re-
actor construction until formidable safety factors have
been adequately dealt with.
While the administration hurries ahead with its plans
for staking the nation's eiergies needs to fisson power,
the scientist group (including nine Nobel laureates) has
taken time to point out three major danger areas they
find implicit in the expansion program:
" Reactor safety. The petition notes that the "record
to date evidences many malfunctions of major equip-
ment, operator errors and design defects as well as a
continuing weakness in the quality control practices with
which nuclear plants are constructed;"
* Radioactive waste disposal. The scientists claim no
"technically or economically feasible methods have yet
been proven for ultimate disposal of radioactive waste-
a grim legacy from the nuclear program to future genera-
tions;" and
r Insufficient control of nuclear materials. "Various
studies carried out by the government," the petition
claims, "as well as outside reviewers, point up to multiple
weaknesses in safeguard procedures intended to prevent
the theft or diversion of commercial reactor-produced
plutonium for use in illicit nuclear explosives or radio-
logical terror weapons."
IF THE FOLKS in Washington learned anything from
recent national blunders-Watergate, Vietnam, Nixon-
omics-it should be that no major program should be
implemented until its future repercussions have been
gauged and deemed tolerable. This is clearly not the case
for nuclear power.
ALL 'E PR eietsrWt MON -1975
ai&~ 'a veeicasa f-mc% ,ft n*A / ali .-

Letters to The Daily

science sults of this lack of knowledge
are evident to almost anyone
who even occasionally reads a
To the Daily: newspaper or views television.
IN RECENT YEARS, various ITSMAFE EDith
elements of the public, includ- . IT IS MANIFESTED in shes
ing prominent citizens and pub- rise of the occult sciences,"
lic officials, have developed an genuine belief in the uninhibit-
increasingly hostile attitude to-ed speculations of books like
ward science in general, and Chariots of the Gods and tihe
technological progress in par- Secret Life of Plants, and the
ticular. We feel that, contrary tendency opolitical officials to
to these ideas, science and tech- chop down scientific research
nological progress can exist for whenever posible. When a Un-
the benefit of man, and that ted Slates Senator can mate a
to deny the intellectual need for statement on national television
progress is definitely nt in any-thtnsceewadoe n
one's best interest. Apollo-Soyuz (an utterly false
Many presently developing statement), and not be laughed
trends are indicative, not only of out of his Senate seat, we feel
an anti-scientific attitude, b u t there is a serious problem.
also of a growing distrust of in- The ill feeling between the
tellectualism. lay world and the world of sci-
We feel many of these atti- ence, it seems, arises from the
tudes have their foundation in inability of the general pop-
a general lack of basic scienti- ulace to defer satisfaction/vin-
fic knowledge. Some of the re- dication to some future date.

~sasThe Lighter Sid
,T eLg t rSdPresidential tim ber
too often concealed
By DICK WEST
WASHINGTON (UPI)-A number of Republicans who just a
short while ago were entertaining thoughts of running for President
no longer are hosts to such notions.
Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee, for example, was downright
rude to his'White House aspirations, pretending he had never met
them socially.
Behind this inhospitable ,behavior is the recent emergence of
President Ford as a strong enough candidate to discourage chal-
lengers. Now entering his second year as chief executive, Ford
enjoys his highest standing yet in the pre-1976 campaign polls.
WHICH SUGGESTS that something is wrong with our political
system.
I don't mean that Ford hasn't proven himself a capable
national leader and all-around jolly good fellow. He has, he has.
And that is precisely why we should be having second thoughts
about our political processes.
Fordhas been around a long time.tThe qualities that now
impress the electorate must have been there all along. Yet you
know and I know that he was never previously considered presi-
dential timber.
IT TOOK a bizarre chain of coincidences, unprecedented in
American history, to land him in the Oval Office.
But if the circumstances of his ascension were unique, the rest
is a familiar story.
Harry Truman was never a contender until FIDR's death
thrust the presidency upon him. Then he not only won in his own
right but is now being hailed in both parties as one of the all time
greats.
IT LIKEWISE is unlikely that Lyndon Johnson ever would have
made it had not tragedy struck his predecessor. After that, the
electorate that originally spurned him gave him one of the biggest
landslides in history.
The lesson, thus, is clear. Our political process as presently
operated has serious blind spots. Someone who is potentially the
best president we ever had may be out there somewhere, waiting
to have his or her attributes recognized.
But barring another weird sequence of events such as finally
put Ford is a position to be appreciated, our Mr. Right may never
come along.
Part of the blame, I'll admit, rests with journalists who serve
as presidential mentioners.
The average citizen, caught up in his daily pursuits, can't be
expected to spot political diamonds in the rough. He must choose.
'his favorites from among the politicians being mentioned in the
press as prospective candidates.
All too often, alas, the mentioners fail to come up with worthy
mentionees.
What is needed, I think, is a National Mentioning Board to
canvass the country for outstanding political unknowns and point
them out to the public.
Those who receive enough support would then become bona-
fide candidates for President. The rest would' receive Honorable
Mention.

Again, to take an example very
recently in the news, many peo-
ple ask, what is the value of
our space program? Where
is our tax money going? Isn't it
wasted?
WITHOUT NASA and outer
space research and develop-
ment, we would be without solid
state electronics, without wire-
less biomedical information
transfer, without laser, without
knowledge of "the final fron-
tier."
SOCIAL PROGRAMS are
sought and subsidized in pre-
ference to basic research sim-
ply because of the shortterm
benefits which are accrued b u t
soon dissipated. Science is work
toward the future to better the
present. Its :benefits, w h e r e
they occur, are permanent; its
potential to benefit is unlimit-
ed.
We are in favor of science
and technology and feel they
have much to offer. Unfortun-
ately, they can also have disas-
trous effects, and we are long
past the time when scientists
can operate in a vacuum, obliv-
ious to their social responsibil-
ity.
For this very reason, we view
the increasing anti-science at-
titude with great alarm, as we
feel it will lead to a world where
the disastrous effects prolifer-
ate, as people become more
steeped in fantasy, and have
even less scientific perspective
with which to judge events in
this area. We hope in some way
to help increase science literacy
and demonstrate that many as-
pects of scientific pro res are
indispensible to eve,yone's
growth and development.
We encourage your comments
and solicit the aid of any per-
sons interested in ioinin our
fledgling organization. Please
direct your comments and/or
requests for information to the
following address:
Association for Scientific
Knowledgee (ASK)
2260 Fuller Rd., Apt. 22
Ann Arbor, Mi.4 8105
-Perry Clark
Jay Shayevitz
Sue Shayevit
August 7
third degree
To the Daily:
I WRITE this letter in ques-
tion to your front page article
on Thursday, August 7, entitled
"FBI questions Hoffa's adopted
son".
I realize, of course, that this
story was brought to your at-
tention by the experienced work-
ers ofthe Ass iated Pres.
However, you must do some
proof reading of these stories
even if they are sent in by a
reputable agency with the likes
of the Associated Press.
I am very aware of the pow-
ers of our Federal Bureau of
Investigation. However, I stil
find it almost beyond the pow-
ers of one of the most power-
ful and respected investigating
agencies in the world to have
(and I quote) ". . . questioned
by the FBI for 3 years yester-
day at a local union hall."
If I am mistaken in question-
ing this period of interrogation,
please *cept my deepest apol-
ogies.
-Michael Jones
August 7
Letters should be typed
and limited to 400 words.
The Daily reserves the
right to edit letters for
length and grammar

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