Sunday, July 16, 2006

David McWilliams scaremongering must be replaced by hard thinking

David McWilliams in his latest column in the Sunday Business Post. Talks about Nuclear. One line he says is.
how do the opponents of nuclear power think our sun and stars generate their energy, which dictates our natural environment, if not from nuclear fusion?
Now anyone with a basic knowledge of Leaving Cert Physics knows the difference between Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion. Also I think most environmentalists would be in favor of Nuclear Fusion. Alas Fusion as a source of energy is very much in the experimental phase. With many thinking that it may never work. Nuclear Fission is a totally different concept. Other points
Roche made a big deal of this the other day. He is tapping into a deep fear that we all have about being contaminated by proximity to nuclear waste - which, incidentally, can be buried easily - again because of the efficiency of the process in the first place.
Buried easily my arse. The British estimate that it will take up to 50 years to build a proper facility. And the American's facility is also highly controversial and going to cost between 50 -100 billion. Not what I would say is easy.

Now I think that Nuclear is quiet safe and new technologies like Pebble Bed reactors are great. But simply put Nuclear doesn't make sense for so many more reasons. Surely David being an economist could write a good piece purely on the economics of Nuclear. Instead of dancing around the issue to go on about the greens.

Here is my take on Nuclear.


Declan said...

The Sun is 93 million miles away, Sellafield is 120.

I'm sure David will have some witty name for young people who buy houses in radioactive areas. "The atmoised family" or "The iodine poppers".

Anonymous said...

While I agree that the scare mongering doesn't help McWilliams doesn't exactly further the debate with simplistic blasé assertions like the ones you highlight. As far as building nuclear goes once the east/west interconnector is built we can benefit from the English/French initiatives without dealing with the difficult questions about waste treatment. All in all a very Irish solution!

Anonymous said...

Indeed, you cannot attack people for making simplistic arguments only to come out with your own.

I'm surprised McWilliams as an economist doesn't discuss the economics of nuclear energy, even if all health issues were 100% resolved it still costs huge sums of money to build proper facilities, import the right materials and then even more to safely dispose of the remains and decomission in a generations time...
On the matter of importations, surely as we reach the beginning of a long end for coal and oil Ireland should endevour to ensure that our energy needs rely on no-one else; it may cost more up front but down the line we'll be thankful that we don't have an energy market based on potentially unpredictable exterior forces as is the situation with oil/gas at the moment.

Seamus Ryan said...

Maybe I am a bit cynical but both McWilliams and Minister Roche have adopted these positions for self interest. One to sell newspapers and to other well............ Nuclear Power is an energy form belonging to another era. Or so we thought. With the British Govt now planning to commission new nuclear power stations it is time that people here became involved in the debate. A nuclear power station in Britain is really the same as one here as regards the effect of an accident here could be catastrophic. And I don't think that is exaggerating. Let us have an informed debate on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Fair point Seamus but the Government are idiotic if they believe that they have any chance of a legal challenge; it's frankly little of our business and I'd be surprised if any court saw it another way.

I'm sure they'll run with the fact that it is a potential threat to us but as long as the UK government can prove that are doing everything they can to avoid such an event they won't be stopped... that's something they're going to have to do to appease opposition on their own island anyway.

I do wonder if they'll build beside Sellafield though, the white paper suggested building new plants next to existing (soon to close) plants but they might save the hassle and diplomatic trauma and leave Cumbria as it is... I wouldn't put a cent on it though.