REGARDING Anthony J Foster’s letter (HAS, Feb 15) about the contrast between chemical and nuclear waste – it’s a fact that the very word “nuclear” provokes an irrational response in some people.

Yet nuclear is a perfectly clean form of energy as well as – if properly managed and regulated – a safe one.

Where there have been mishaps (Chernobyl in 1986, Windscale in 1958 and Four Mile Island in 1954) the circumstances were entirely preventable and the main factor in each case was a quite shocking degree of neglect.

As for the Government’s present policy of decommissioning existing nuclear reactors and not replacing them – it does not bear scrutiny. Why?

Because the only apparent alternative, in the short-term at any rate, is coal, which should not be a viable option.

That’s true whether you bring the stuff from Russia or dig it up on opencast sites.

Both in present circumstances are madness – and two wrongs do not make a right.

Climate change is already upon us and the threat is dire and imminent.

As for nuclear waste, the great ecologist James Lovelock has pointed out that in the not too distant future it could well serve a variety of useful purposes.

In short, we should stop closing nuclear power stations and start building new ones.

Tony Kelly, Crook.