The line continues to be blurred between fact and opinion in today’s media, and Sunday’s Courier served another example with a misleading and fear-inducing “news” article (“State Legislature endorses Arizona as dumping ground for nuclear waste”).

The fact that someone writing a story on the Nuclear Spent Fuel Recycling Facility could botch the basic information on the proposal is disappointing and a disservice to the readers of the newspaper.

Papers should tell the truth. The facility is NOT a toxic waste dump proposal. You might be able to make that argument with Yucca Mountain, where 100 percent of the nuclear material was scheduled to be buried in the mountain. It’s a completely different story with my plan, where 96 percent of spent nuclear fuel would be recycled into reusable fuel rods. Only 4 percent would be disposed of.

The article by Jon Johnson also preys on the misconceptions and fears some have over nuclear energy. We have a proven track record of safety with nuclear energy. The U.S. Navy has used nuclear energy for 50 years without incident. A nuclear Navy is critical to the defense of the United States. And it’s not just vital to the United States. France has been doing just what we are proposing for more than 30 years without incident.

Mr. Johnson’s article also cleverly suggests the Legislature is overriding the wishes of local communities, by quoting two Safford officials. Let’s be clear that there will be thorough community input before any decision is made. A team of experts will visit all four proposed sites (Safford, Picacho Peak, Holbrook and Kingman). We will fully explain the proposal and get complete feedback from the area. If there is a consensus in the community to oppose the facility, it won’t be built there.

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Something those residents will need to consider is the tremendous economic impact of the facility. This would be a $20 billion investment, with construction alone involving 18,000 workers. Once it is built, it will employ 5,000 direct full-time employees and 30,000 first-tier employees. Estimates show $500 million will be put into the area each year. The entire state will benefit. The project commits $100 million for school funding on top of what the state funds right now.

I encourage the people of Safford to not be swayed by misleading articles.

Spend some time on two Web sites that dig deep into the issue of nuclear spent fuel recycling, www.azedcoalition.org and www.ansaz.org. There will be a long, thorough examination of the idea of building this facility in our great state.

I hope you’ll be a part of it.

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