WHEN DEREGULATING, DON'T FORGET NUKES
As electricity-supply deregulation proceeds, we should address the recovery of legitimate investments made by utilities under the current regulated monopoly system ("Electricity: The power shift ahead," Industries, Dec. 2). These investments--which include nuclear plants--were made on the basis of need, with the approval of state utility commissions. This covenant between the economic regulators and the regulated utilities should be honored in the move to a more deregulated system.
Furthermore, many of today's nuclear power plants have production costs lower than those of oil- and gas-fired plants and about equal to those of plants burning coal. In the coming deregulated era, the production costs for plants already built will largely determine from whom electric power will be purchased.
With the continuing downward trend in the cost of nuclear-generated electricity, and the apparent rise in the price of natural gas, we will continue to need a number of the nuclear plants.
Forrest J. Remick
Nuclear Regulatory Commission State College, Pa.Return to top
CLEARING THE AIR ON CANADAIR
The erroneous headline in which "Canadair" was wrongly used in a story on Canadian Airlines International Ltd. prompted a number of calls to our office ("No midair miracle for Canadair?" The Corporation, Dec. 2).
To set the record straight, Canadair, the aircraft designer and manufacturer, was acquired by Bombardier Inc. in 1986. It forms part of Bombardier's Aerospace Group, which also includes Learjet in the U.S., Shorts in Northern Ireland, and de Havilland in Canada. During the past 10 years, revenues for Bombardier Aerospace have risen more than tenfold, to $2.4 billion (U.S.) last year, with profits following suit.
Today, Bombardier Aerospace is the world's fourth-largest civil aircraft manufacturer and leads the business and regional aircraft markets with its products, including such well-known brands as Learjet, Challenger, and the new ultralong-range Global Express business jets. The 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet and de Havilland Dash-8 series of commuter aircraft are being used by 16 airlines operating in the U.S. A number of readers would recognize the Canadair CL-415 "Superscooper" that picks up water on the fly and drops it on fires.
Canadair relies on its technology, innovative products, and solid customer support to make its success--no miracles are required.
MontrealReturn to top
DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR CALCIUM-CHANNEL BLOCKERS
Paul Raeburn is trying to scare the living daylights out of the 7 million Americans taking calcium-channel blockers, the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. ("Taking the pulse of heart research," Developments to Watch, Nov. 25).
The recently published 90-page report on guidelines for treating acute heart attacks says there are certain circumstances in which the calcium-channel blockers verapamil and diltiazem might be used. In both instances, the effectiveness of these uses was demonstrated in randomized, controlled clinical trials--the gold standard of clinical research.
Your reporting of the recent American Heart Assn. meeting failed to note two major presentations of findings that fail to support the theory that calcium-channel blockers are harmful. And the article failed to deliver the most important message of the new guidelines: It's crucial to get to a hospital as soon as possible for treatments that all cardiologists agree on.
Brant S. Mittler, M.D.
San AntonioReturn to top