“A bigger role for nuclear energy as climate change intensifies?” the headline suggests [Oct. 31, A1].

One must read well into the continuation page for the real story. The number of U.S. nuclear power stations has decreased by 10% in the last decade. Of the four plants recently under construction, two were abandoned, billions over budget. Two identical plants, the last now being built, are years behind schedule, $13 billion over budget and probably headed for the same fate.

A Northwest project to build a 462 megawatt “small modular nuclear reactor” complex has only attracted subscribers for 103 megawatt of purchases.

Nuclear plants started now would not produce power in the next decade.

Experts agree that fossil fuels must be phased down by 2030. We are fortunate to have two pieces of the solution at hand, if we had the will to implement them: Wind and solar power are cheap and well developed. The billions spent on nuclear construction should be shifted to that type of clean energy, which can come online quickly.

We have the means to improve energy efficiency throughout our economy. Better than a free lunch, it’s the lunch we’re paid to eat.

Roger Lippman, Seattle