6 The Dally Tar Heel Wednesday, September 28. 1977
America, is there an energy option?
The 'hard' energy commitment: No mistakes can ever be permitted
Bv PHILIP LUSK
WITH THOM GUNTER
Editor's Sole: This is the second in a series of three
articles dealing with America's future energy policy.
This article considers the implications of nuclear
generated electricity in North Carolina the "hard"
energy approach. Part three will consider the "soft"
path and the energy option for North Carolina.
Yesterday, the arguments against nuclear-generated
electricity and especially against the breeder reactor
were temporarily tabled. Today the implications of
these arguments will be considered with respect to
their possible impact on North Carolina following the
"hard" energy path.
The use and rapid expansion of centralized high
technology in the United States (and North Carolina)
to meet the projected energy demand in the next 50
years offers many economic, social, environmental
and political problems which may prove to be
These problems may be primarily related to most
official U.S. energy policy proposals, which are based
upon the goals of maintaining traditional growth
patterns in energy consumption coupled with the
reduction of oil imports. The most common approach
for meeting projected demand is the rapid expansion
of present domestic fuel sources (coal, gas, oil and
nuclear fission) for meeting the short-term goals of the
next 10 to 20 years.
The anticipated solutions for meeting long-term
energy needs are largely assumed to rely on exotic
technologies, such as the fission breeder reactor,
fusion reactors and various forms of solar-generated
electricity. Economic and energy growth will not be
constrained greatly as the use of massive subsidies and
regulations will keep the price of energy consumed
well below its actual replacement value through the
use of depletion allowances which ignore actual
The major form of energy that will be available for
the average consumer in the year 2000 will be
electricity, which will consume one-half of the total
fuel input but provide only one-third of the total
available energy for consumer use.
This shift to massive electrification has been only a
recent historical trend, largely through the efforts of
Samuel Insull. an employee of Thomas Edison who
later assumed early control of Chicago Edison
Electric. It was Insull who brought the myth to the
American public that the best form of energy available
for consumer use was instantaneous electricity
produced in centralized power-generating systems.
(This is in direct contrast to the almost forgotten
potential of stored energy supplied from diverse,
decentralized sources.) This myth has been largely
perpetuated by the large energy-producing
institutions through the use of advertising, and by
almost all levels of government through their granting
of monopoly franchises to these institutions. The
energy-consuming public has been sold, in general, a
fraudulent bill of goods as a result of this myth.
At present, the generation of electric power requires
about 29 per cent of total energy use in the United
States. 1 3 per cent of this total is then available for and
supplied to consumers for meeting their end-use needs
(space heating, cooking, etc.) The remaining 16 per
cent is released into the environment as waste heat.
Only about 4 to 8 per cent of all the total energy use
meets needs that are directly suited for electric power,
such as lighting, telecommunications and electric
motors in home appliances. As stated by Lovins:
"Plainly we are using premium fuels (fossil and
nuclear) and electricity for many tasks for which their
high energy quality is superfluous, wasteful and
expensive and a hard path would make this inelegant
practice even more common."
By the year 1985. one half of all the energy supplied
in North Carolina will require the generation of
electricity, with one half of the electrical generating
capacity provided by nuclear power.
This concentration of nuclear power in North
Carolina is higher per capita than in any other state.
There are many arguments against nuclear pov .
and especially against the breeder reactor. Some of
these arguments are considered below:
Reactor Safely: A nuclear accident has the
potential, if the containment vessel is breached, of
causing approximately $17 billion worth of damage
and of killing or injuring over 150.000 people. The
Price-Anderson Act limits the total liability for any
in water, soils, sediments or air if the input exceeds the
rate of natural radioactive decay.
By the year 2000 the United States will have 300 to
500 reactors. Thirteen reactors will operate in North
Carolina by 1990.
Handling, transport and storage of long half-life
wastes: It might be of interest to consider that, in lieu
of basic federal or state policy dealing with reactor
waste storage, nuclear wastes are already being
transported to a location outside of Charlotte (from
the McGuire facility) for storage.
As of this writing, there has not been a single
location identified as stable enough to secure waste
storage over geologic time. These wastes, with respect
to the breeder reactor and the 2.5 tons of plutonium
"... there has not been a single location identified as
stable enough to secure waste storage. . . "
single nuclear accident to $560 million. Duke Power's
McGuire Nuclear Facility (14 miles from Charlotte)
was recently stopped by a federal restraining order
over the consideration of possible impacts caused by a
major failure. The Sheraton Harris nuclear facility
(1.5 times the capacity of the McGuire plant) is located
approximately 20 mile from Chapel Hill.
Construction of a nuclear facility, the Perkins Plant,
to be located 20 miles from Winston-Salem is planned.
It will have 1.6 times the capacity of the McGuire
The release of low-level radioactive wastes into
the environment: Release of low concentrations of
radioactive wastes (like Strontium-90, lodine-131.
Cesium-1 37) has the possibility of concentration in
living organisms during food chain transfers.
Radioactive substances may also simply accumulate
that each reactor produces every year, may take
240.000 years to degrade to the point where they are
considered safe. In contrast, mankind crawled out of
its common ancestral tree only within the last 15,000
Potential risks to national security: The location
of conventional nuclear and breeder reactors, power
transmission lines and the weapons-grade fissile
materials produced by the breeder reactor lend
themselves readily as potential targets of weapons
which could be used by groups and individuals
iiuerested in violent political change. It has been
estimated that a grapefruit-sized ball of Plutonium
239 dispersed equally over. the global population
would cause cancer or genetic mutations in all.
Thermal pollution: The projected use of nuclear
powered electric generating plants has the possibility
of raising the temperature of the entire freshwater
runoff of the lower 48 states by 34 to 37 degrees
Fahrenheit through the release of waste heat. This
could affect seriously global climate patterns within 50
The proposed nuclear facility outside of Winston
Salem will evaporate up to 71 million gallons of water
per day when in normal operation. This represents a
total of approximately 26 billion gallons of water per
year that will be lost into the atmosphere. In contrast,
the total 1970 human consumption of water in North
Carolina (already facing a serious water problem) was
approximately 39.4 billion gallons.
Economic considerations: The capital investment
required for the construction of the three proposed
North Carolina nuclear facilities (Harris, Perkins and
McGuire) is approximately $12 billion. If this same
amount of capital were to be made available to the
public for solar space-heating equipment, every home
in North Carolina could have a $5,000 solar-collecting
system installed. This would provide adequate space
heating and hot water requirements for the total
population of North Carolina with no fuel costs and
mostly user-serviceable equipment.
This article does not want to suggest that all forms
of centralized power generating systems (and
especially nuclear) should be rejected and discarded
immediately. They presently do play a major role in
our lifestyles and that role is one not easily changed.
H owever, the fact remains that the commitment to the
use of the "hard" energy path represents a decision
that will affect all persons for all time using a
generating system where no acts of God (and,
presumably, impudent men) can ever be allowed.
Philip Lusk, a senior, is an Energy and
Environment major from Durham, N.C. Thorn
Gunter, a senior, is an Energy Policy major from
Ben Cornelius, Managing Editor
Ed Rankin, Associate Editor
Lou Bilionis, Associate Editor
Laura Scism, University Editor
Elliott Potter, City Editor
Chuck Alston, State and National Editor
Sara Bullard, Features Editor
Chip Ensslin, Arts Editor
Gene Upchurch. Sports Editor
Allen Jernican, Photography Editor-
85th year of editorial freedom
I ; I I
Amendment may end unfair
foreign med student quotas
To the hundreds of UNC pre-med students, slaving away to merit highly
coveted berths in medical school, the news of HEW's quotas for foreign
trained medical students must be infuriating. Federal law states that medical
schools must reserve "an equitable number" of spaces for U.S. citizens
transferring from foreign medical schools, but administrators at UNC,
Duke and Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem say HEW is forcing them to
take too many unqualified students.
All too often, this foreign quota is a loophole for college seniors who don't
have the proper credentials to get them into medical school. If such a student
has another credential money he can bolt for a foreign medical school
where standards are often lower than they are stateside. HEW quotas then
give these students an unfair advantage in transferring into medical schools
that may have rejected them the first time around.
Of course, it's hard for the medical schools to argue with HEW. The
federal agency also has that all-important credential to back it up. For
instance, UNC stands to lose at least $800,000 if it refuses to take what it
considers an inflated number of transfers.
"Congress has placed the medical schools under an unusual burden," said
Dr. Christopher Fordham, medical school dean, referring to the choice
between money and "academic integrity."
But there is hope that Congress will change its discriminatory regulations.
Legislators are considering an amendment that would limit the quota to 6
per cent, a figure Fordham finds reasonable. The foreign-transfer program
would end by 198 1 . A hearing on this amendment to the Health Professions
Fducational Assistance Act is set for Thursday.
Fordham and other medical school administrators have been quite brave
and quite justified in challenging the unfounded quotas set by HEW.
Congressmen ought to take the advice of these competent leaders of the
medical community and pass the amendment as soon as possible.
Representatives of this state, with its wealth of quality medical education
should take up the banner for these administrators. Reps. L. H. Fountain,
Ike Andrews and Stephen Neal have the responsibility to look after the fine
schools in their districts.
It's absolutely unwarranted for the federal government to compromise
these schools, even as it's unjust for a spurious quota to allow unqualified
students to slip into medical schools along with those who deserve to be
M 1H "
letters to the editor
Students to catch, paint and study zoology majors
To the editor:
The Daily Tar Heel is right: nuts are more
plentiful in Chapel Hill than elsewhere and I
ought to know. That is what draws all of us
here to start with, including the squirrels.
Nuts are what keep us here each other.
N uts are entertainment, nuts are sustenance.
But the biggest nut of all seems to be a
certain oology student.
This is the conclusion several friends and I
have arrived at after reading a recent article
("Senior to catch and paint squirrels," Sept.
The squirrel population has been here
infinitely longer than this University and I
am proud to say that, of the thousands of
students who have passed through the halls
of UNC over almost two centuries, not one
has ever been taken in so badly or been so
naive as to waste time and money on finding
out why our little rodent neighbors prefer the
campus to other parts of town.
The pretense behind the entire experiment
is absolutely ludicrous. Anyone with an
acornful of common sense understands it is
simply a matter of food and shelter being
available to the squirrels under some of the
best of circumstances. The squirrels feel safer
Of course, these last two could change if
Mr. Seagle carries out his mad experiment,
one that sounds like it was hatched in the
dank mind of a German SS "research"
physician or maybe by Boris Baddinoff
trying to knock off Rocky and Bullwinkle.
M y friends and I have become so intrigued
by the farcical phenomenon of this zoology
student that we have decided to conduct an
experiment of our own. We wish to ascertain
what would drive an undergraduate (if he
were getting his Ph.D. for his experiment,
that would be a different matter) zoology
major to conduct this sadistic experiment
and why he would devote body and mind to
such worthless research.
Once our experiment begins, a student
walking through one of our survey areas may
think he has spotted the latest element of a
beautification program - decorative
oology students. To identify and
individually catalogue each squirrel-crazy
zoologist we catch, they will be spray
painted red and each treated with a separate
Teachers, students and authorities should
not be worried about the health factor,
however. Bright red paint will make the zoo
student readily identifiable over a great
distance during the daytime, and he will glow
brightly in the dark, so folks should have
plenty of time to get away from him without
As for the zoo students themselves,
everyone can forget their worries because we
have been assured that our marking methods
are completely harmless. The paint
manufacturer has guaranteed us that the
paint will wear off within three to six weeks
alter body decomposition, and the
identifying isotopes have a hall-life of only
18,000 years. This should have a nearly
negligible effect on the rest ol the population
provided the subject is buried in the middle
of 50 feet of concrete and sealed in a lead
vault immediately following expiration.
But before a oology student can be
painted, he must be caught. W e plan to set a
large number of traps in the areas where
young Seagle has indicated he will undertake
his atrocious depredations on the squirrels.
One of our number suggested a claymore
( "Bouncing Betty") land mine, but that was
passed over because of complications that
might arise in identifying the subject, not
that we underestimate Dr. Page Hudson's
capabilities in the least.
We finally agreed upon Burmese tiger pits
in each area. 20 feet square and 35-40 feet
Before removing the subject from the trap,
though, we will have to render him
unconscious, if he is not already so from the
fall. To do this, we will force-feed him
squirrel dung until he passes out.
I he oology student will be lured into the
trap by leaving things that would appeal to
him on the foliage covering the pit. We will
bait some with science research grants from
the New American Nazi Party, others with a
complete set of Marquis Donatien de Sade's
Cyclopedia of Beastiality and Other Fun
Things To Do, and a few with small cages
containing mechanical squirrels.
We want to emphasize that these traps will
not harm the subject in any way whatsoever.
Students passing by should not be alarmed
by the sight of a zoology student stuck in an
open pit screaming and pleading to get out.
Just go on your way, forget about him and
do not worry everything is in the safe and
loving hands of science. Please resist the
temptation that a few of you might have to
set him free. Please do not feed him, pelt him
with acorns, spit on him. or do anything else
that might come to mind.
Thank goodness for science and its sterile
religion that we have all been caught up in.
Without it. we wouldn't have Presto Hot
Doggers or electric pencil trimmers, nor
would we know how long it takes to fry two
eggs, or (as Tom Robbins pointed out), how
long it will take a monkey with a wooden leg
to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle if a
chicken-and-a-half lays an egg-and-a-half in
a day-and-a-half, nor would we be able to
determine that we are polluting and burning
ourselves out faster than we can figure out
how not to.
I'm sure Seagle and his friends in the
zoology department could find some more
useful information of a higher order to
Besides that, I've talked with my sources
and I know for a fact that Seagle has not
asked the squirrels in the local population
how they feel about this census. They said
they thought it was nonsense.
518 Foxcroft Apts.
To the editor:
1 have been reading with great interest
your articles regarding the "supposed" High
Noon Society. Not being a member myself, I
have restrained my strong opinions in hopes
that someone else would sound off.
However, after reading last month's
Reader's Digest ("I Am Johnny's Brain"), it
becomes more and more necessary to speak
out on the issue.' at hand. Come on, you
High Nooners, be real. Let's separate the
myths from the facts about marijuana.
Myth: Marijuana heightens sensitivity.
Fact: M arijuana causes fatigue and "nerve
Myth: Marijuana is a relaxant.
Fact: Marijuana causes headaches and
Myth: Marijuana is not a drug, but merely
a weed similar to tobacco.
Fact: The law states that marijuana is a
drug. Five to 1 0 in the pen will easily support
Now that we have the facts straight, it is
time to "turn off" to drugs and "turn on" to
the real reason we are all here in Chapel H ill,
namely, for good grades and enriching
experiences. Come on, you High Nooners,
let's "get straight" to the library so that we
may get "straight A's."
D. C. Malle
Rt. 10, Box 7
'Get all the facts'
To the editor:
In your article presenting excerpts from
the AWS lecture ("AWS lecture excerpts,"
Sept. 26), you quote Christie Barbee as
saying "University and college campuses
should avoid open debates (on ERA)
because you can't argue against emotion on
an intellectual level. Never give them a forum
to voice their opinions." Regardless of who is
"right" or "wrong," everyone should be
encouraged to openly voice their opinions.
To stifle debate on a decision as important as
a constitutional amendment is against all
ideals of American democracy. Let's get all
the facts so we can make an intelligent
decision either for or against the Equal
The Daily Tar Heel needs editorial
assistants to help research editorial topics
and ideas. Anyone interested in the
position should contact Lou Bilionis or
Ed Rankin at the Daily Tar Heel offices
sometime this week or call 933-0245 or
'?mq?' mmiVQipamt cm all this com?"
Yes, Virginia, there is a better school It's called UNC.
To the editor:
A recent and somewhat misguided letter to the editor ("Partying:
Is Carolina the 'Iowa of the ACCT," Sept. 26) has prompted me to
represent my native state, Iowa. Being one of only a handful of
lowans at UNC, I have gracefully endured the numerous questions,
ranging from the obvious "Why did you come to Carolina?" to the
ridiculous "Where is Iowa?' Mr. Dorrian's letter, however, has gone
beyond the point of human decency; his criticism of Carolina as the
Iowa of the ACC borders on the incredible.
As any Iowa City native knows, the University of Iowa is the
partying capital of the Midwest. South of Minneapolis and west of
Chicago there is no better place. Iowa City's 40 bars, two liquor
stores (with the highest sales in the state) and what Esquire magazine
calls the "red eyes" of her student inhabitants all point to partying
excellence. In his ignorance. Mr. Dorrian has paid Carolina a
1 he reasons lor Iowa's partying excellence are obv ious. After all. it
vour lootball team is losing 654) to Michigan, alcoholic attempts to
forget the game are warranted. . eruinh. Virginia can relate with
this attitude. Witness the "pretend" game the Wahoos showed up for
against Texas. . .or Duke. . .or.. .
Wisely. Mr. Dorrian does not take issue with Carolina's proven
athletic excellence. Instead, still clinging to the elitist attitudes which
characterize many Virginia students, he takes issue with Carolina's
academic integrity. Here, once again, he is on very shaky ground.
Time magazine and an issue of the Yale Daily News have called
North Carolina the best state-supported school in the South.
Perhaps Virgm.a would l.ke to secede from the South so that it can be
Yes. Virginia, there is a better school. It combines academic
excellence wh athletic ability. So take some advice. Virginia
S u . v VitI HV 6 SCCn il a11' come ,0 Chapel Hill.
Because I V a. hke Thomas Jeflerson. is not all that it's cracked up to
9 Old West