The events at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi power station reveal that even with redundant systems and intensive regulation, nuclear power remains a disaster waiting to happen.

Accidents are inevitable with technology as complex as nuclear reactors; there have been more than 50 accidents at U.S. nuclear power plants alone. And since commercial nuclear reactors contain 1,000 times as much radioactivity as was released by the Hiroshima bomb, the chance that one of those accidents will be catastrophic is unacceptably high.

Even the smallest controlled release of radiation from a nuclear plant has the potential to cause harm to human health. The National Academies of Science’s BEIR VII report concluded in 2005 that any exposure to radiation can have detrimental health effects.

Gov. LePage reportedly feels that Maine is “ripe for a nuclear power plant.” I urge him to reassess. A number of safer, cheaper and renewable power-generation options exist for Maine. None are without their flaws, but none threaten human health as much as nuclear power.

Paul Santomenna
Executive director, Maine chapter
Physicians for Social Responsibility

We can land people on the moon, maintain an orbiting space station, build human body parts. Why do we not seem able to respond to disasters both natural and man-made?

After watching helicopters dump water on the reactors in Japan, I thought there has to be a better way. If nothing else, I am sure we have the technology to build helicopters that would shield the pilots from radiation.

The human race seems incapable of adequately preparing for emergencies. After just about every emergency the question is asked, “How come we don’t have more basic first responders?”

Larry Horn

I have no connection to the power industry except to pay for electricity that I use. I am 95 years old. This old body has been subjected to every kind of electronic radiation known to man since I was 12 years old.

It began when I started fooling around with radio transmitting equipment and all through my working years in the radio communications field. It never occurred to me that I might be harmed by it.

I built high-power transmitters and tested them within a foot or so of the inductors carrying thousands of volts of electronic radiation, which would be equivalent to sitting in the middle of a kitchen full of microwave ovens at full power and then some. I worked on and around radio towers of 50,000-watt broadcast stations, radars on ships, etc.

All human bodies are made of the same material, so why would anyone be different than me? It comes down to the fact that those people who object to the new (Central Maine Power) smart meters have no idea about the subject and are either paranoid or need to visit a psychiatrist.

I live within 250 feet of three cell towers, as a matter of fact. It reminds me of the time I was applying for a permit to build these towers. There were many similar people making an issue of it, saying they would be irradiated and their children would be harmed, etc. Now these same people have cell phones and all the other gadgets surrounding them that emit 10,000 times the (radio frequency) energy put out by the meters.

So, ladies and gentlemen, cool down and find something more important to complain about. There are unlimited things happening right under your noses that will really give you something to worry about.

Herb Strout
Cape Elizabeth 

I have read with some dismay the articles on the smart-meter controversy. It is unfortunate that we still have citizens who are ruled by such misguided fallacies and anti-science bias.

To these people, the symptoms they claim are real. No amount of evidence will shake their delusion. The only solution I can see would be to allow such people to opt out and then charge them for the extra cost incurred in manual meter reading.

My involvement with microwave effects dates back to post-World War II physiological experiments. Since then I have tried to keep current on peer-reviewed publications on the subject. So far I have not read of any reproducible effects being observed at power levels of much higher than those produced by smart meters.

With the background radiation we are all receiving from other sources being so much higher than that one could receive from smart meters, I, for one, will assume this inconsequential risk for the small benefit that goes with the smart meters.

Edmond R. Pelta

Ninety trips around the sun bring reflection — and joy 

I was quite moved by Greg Kesich’s column paying tribute to his dad on the occasion of his 90th birthday. It so happened the column was published on March 16, my 80th birthday.

As his dad begins his 10th decade I begin my ninth, and as Greg said, at these ages “every trip around the sun is worth celebrating.” Indeed, I try to celebrate each day with both a memory of the past and a plan for the latest of the more than 29,000 mornings I have awoken.

Some days the world seems awfully dark and troubled. But then I remember how my mother lived nearly a century, through the Depression, many wars, illness and stress, yet kept loving and smiling — especially when she dug into a lobster at her 95th birthday party. And I think of Misha and Natasha, my grandchildren, and the possibility that they — and others like them — may make the world brighter and more peaceful. And I experience hope.

Happy birthday, Veselin Kesich of Scarborough. And, oh yeah, happy birthday to me, too.

Norman Abelson

It was a joy to read Greg Kesich’s March 16 commentary on his dad’s 90th birthday, “The view from 90 includes more than a few surprises.”

To gain such insight from a long life well-lived is a rare and important thing. The role of family, education and culture is made whole in the father’s struggles of life.

But the son should know the greatest surprise and the best 90th birthday present must be for the father to see what a fine man the son has become.

Tom Connolly