Worth the risk
Thumbs up to Energy Northwest and the Department of Energy for reaching a deal that should save Northwest ratepayers a lot of money.
Under the agreement, DOE transfers depleted uranium to Energy Northwest for enrichment at U.S. Enrichment Corp.'s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky.
The deal will save about 1,000 jobs at the plant, recycle a valuable resource and potentially save ratepayers a bundle.
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Some of Energy Northwest's costs will be offset by selling a portion of the fuel to the Tennessee Valley Authority for use in its seven nuclear power plants.
The deal isn't without risk. The cost of uranium could drop, making this long-term purchase more expensive than buying on the open market.
But the risks seem small and the potential benefits large. For starters, the financial structure of the deal is expected to decrease Energy Northwest's costs by $20 million from 2014 to 2017. In the long run, millions of additional dollars more are expected to be saved.
We're No. 1
Thumbs up to the Tri-Cities for reclaiming its ranking as the nation's most secure midsized community.
The ranking by Farmers Insurance Group of Companies compared almost 400 U.S. communities on a range of criteria.
The rankings took into consideration crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, terrorist threats, environmental hazards, life expectancy, mortality rates from cancer and car accidents and job loss numbers.
Once again, outsiders are reminding us of our good fortune to live in the Mid-Columbia.
Thumbs downPrice of vanity
Thumbs down to the notion that it's better to look good than to feel good.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that sunburns and trips to the tanning salon are on the rise, particularly among young white women.
The survey found that women in their 20s averaged more than 20 indoor tanning sessions in the previous year, according to the CDC.
In 2009, tanning devices were classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization, which analyzed 20 studies and found the risk of melanoma rose 75 percent in people who started indoor tanning before age 30.
The indoor tanning industry refutes the findings, but given the preponderance of experts who are convinced there's a danger, it's difficult to justify the risk.
Paid in full
Thumbs down to the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Candidates are subject to some rules, but independent groups of supporters have free rein.
As The Associated Press recently reported, the distinction between official campaigns and supposedly outside organizations is virtually nonexistent.
For example, an independent group with deep ties to President Obama's re-election campaign launched a television ad hitting Mitt Romney's business practices at Bain Capital, just 24 hours after Obama's team debuted its own ad attacking Romney's work at the private equity firm, the AP reported.
Campaigns and outside groups are forbidden from working together, a technicality that supports the fiction that the influence of money on the democratic process is somehow limited.
But campaign staff and outsider supporters don't have to sit at the same table to synchronize strategies. The fact is, the people running the so-called super PACs for both presidential campaigns have spent enough time at the table to already know the score.
The pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action is run by former Obama White House aides, and the pro-Romney Restore Our Future super PAC is staffed by his former advisers.
Is anyone in the campaigns breaking the law? Probably not. But that technicality doesn't erase the debt our next president will owe to the high rollers who funded his shadow campaign.