What Nuclear Power Can't Replace
The Jan. 2 Metro article about the possible development of a large uranium mine in Virginia ["Uranium Lode in Va. Is Feared, Coveted"] said that production of the uranium "could drastically change the nation's reliance on foreign oil."
Unfortunately, that is not true. The vast majority of the oil consumed in the United States is used for transportation, not for electricity generation. No amount of nuclear power will make much difference in our demand for oil because oil powers our cars and trucks, not our electricity plants.
According to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, less than 6 percent of U.S. electric generating capacity is oil-fueled, and most of the generating plants that do run on oil are backup units operated only at times of highest demand.
Nuclear power could supplant coal, but not oil.
THOMAS W. LIPPMAN
The writer is an adjunct scholar with the Middle East Institute.