Owners Should Shape Up

Congratulations on an outstanding editorial, "Project Owners with Few Bidders May Be Stinky Clients". The views expressed in this piece are absolutely dead on. I strongly believe that many owners are still living in the past when they were used to the dumb guys in the pick-up truck fighting each other for the "privilege" of worshiping at the owner's throne. Not anymore.

Many owners are still clueless about what they are doing to drive away both contractors and design firms from working with them. One-way contracts, lack of owner management and timely decisions, confrontational delivery systems, risk shifting, poor documents and arrogance regarding their processes and approach to dealing with consultants are all factors that drive away contractors and designers toward more attractive clients and projects.

In the construction market we now are experiencing, owners who do not see the need to change their approach will pay the price in the end. Life is too short, this business is too difficult and other project and client options are too abundant to work with undesirable owners.

Nuke Waste Still a Problem

Thanks for your detailed update on renewed interest in nuclear power. Like many environmentalists, I opposed nuclear power in the 1970s and 1980s, before economic forces did what we could not achieve-stop the construction of unsafe plants regulated by a captive federal agency.

Nuclear power is a fascinating and dynamic energy source, and it almost makes sense until you consider the devil's bargain that has to be made in the process of waste storage. Stories leaked from the deep salt-bed injection research have suggested that what once seemed promising is not so certain, and data integrity from the studies is questionable. Omission of any reference to these problems is the one flaw in an otherwise excellent story.

This stuff just does not go away. Until some brilliant minds conceive of a method to neutralize radioactive waste, many of us still cannot support it, no matter how efficient the construction process becomes.

The Sept. 18 cover story and editorial offer good information on the current efforts to proceed with development of nuclear power. I was surprised to see no mention of the extremely important ongoing debate about a repository for nuclear waste. That would have added a lot to the articles.