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NRC Faults Yost’s Analysis

Keith Yost (“Cleverer and Cleverer,” May 5) commits a gross error and perpetuates a fallacy about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, both of which should be corrected.

The error is his misrepresentation of the Commission’s recent decision regarding disposal of depleted uranium. The Commission did not reclassify depleted uranium from Class C low-level waste to Class A, as Mr. Yost states. Depleted uranium has always been Class A waste and has been safely disposed in relatively small amounts as Class A for decades; the Commission’s finding was that large amounts of depleted uranium can be safely disposed as Class A, depending on the characteristics of the disposal site. Mr. Yost and the “few anti-nuclear environmentalists” he cites may “seethe” at the “Republican-tilted Commission,” but they should at least get their facts right.

Mr. Yost appears to suggest that the NRC is motivated by politics. Although by law the five-member Commission may have no more than three members from the same political party, over the agency’s history major policy decisions have rarely been decided along party lines. Rather, the Commissioners — be they Republican or Democrat in the voting booth come November — are motivated by a common goal of ensuring the safe use of nuclear power and radioactive materials for the benefit of society.

David McIntyre

Public Affairs Officer

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Editor’s note: See correction above.

When Did MIT Give Up on Excellence?

I read with dismay the recent article “Pistol & Gymnastics Among Eight Varsity Sports To Be Slashed.” While I was saddened to read of the cuts, I understand that there are widespread budget problems throughout society at the current time.

However, I was dismayed to see the quote “With the cuts, DAPER has kept its word in not taking performance into consideration.” That seems to be a particularly asinine approach to assessing the worth of a sports program, given that competition is at the heart of sport. When did excellence stop being a criterion for ANYTHING that is to be associated with the MIT name? Sports are not all about winning… but success used to at least mean “living to fight another day.”

Given this new attitude, why not simply divest MIT sports of ANY competitive events, since success is meaningless? Undoubtedly, it would be cheaper to maintain ALL the sports programs if the expenses of achieving success were eliminated. By simply turning sports into “campus activities,” MIT could afford to support all sports programs, achieving ultimate “fairness.”

Scott A. Beasley ’88

Sports Cuts Draw Alum Ire

As a 4 year MIT golf letterman I was shocked to find out last week that MIT had axed the golf team. This misguided decision will tarnish many of my best memories of MIT, to say nothing of the effect it will have on current team members.

I do understand that budget cuts are sometimes necessary, so in that spirit I’ve decided to reduce my expenses by zeroing out my alumni contributions. If even a small number of other alumni decide as I have, it will cancel out any savings MIT hopes to achieve by this unfortunate action.

Leo Bonnell ’77