My thoughts go to the people of Japan at this time of calamity. While acknowledging their plight in the face of a natural disaster, I would like to draw your attention to two pieces on the nuclear issue.
Here you go with 10 minutes from Barry Brook, Professor of Climate Change, at University of Adelaide recorded in 2009. Giving a bit of a history of nuclear power. Also gives you a bit of an insight into Generation Four. There is also a mention of Japan – building lots of reactors (shonkily it would appear now); and, also what is called “walkaway” safety, based on the laws of physics (though he might have been alluding to Gen 4 for this). If there was “walkaway” safety at Fukishima I am guessing it didn’t work. Ho hum.
Barry Brook also reckons that they are cheap to produce – at 2000USD per KiloWattHour(KWH), compared to coal at 1500USD per KWH. He doesn’t mention recycling, mainly because Gen 4 will use the waste of all the other generation reactors, and he reckons that its waste will only be hostile for 300 years. This seems to be another reason to delay cleanup (also note my previous email on the local nuclear storage extension, from 30 to 60 years, in the US). Ho Hum.
Here is a 40 minute interview with Dr. Mark Diesendorf, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales. He is slightly more concerned about the recycling and nuclear weapons proliferation side of the coin. He also talks about modern solar and wind.
For my two cents, if we could go straight to Gen 4, that would be great. Until then I advocate a moratorium on building more Gen 3s, and doing a serious clean up of all the waste that is loitering around the planet – we would then see if the carbon cost versus cleanup cost equation would balance – having taken into account the external costs that our present system doesn’t like to account for.
Also, there is also something slightly wonky, to me, about wanting to control seriously dangerous power. This then transcends into wanting to have, and to control, some seriously dangerous weapons of mass destruction. I may be completely wrong but this speaks to me of the sense of precluding from politics those who want to become politicians. The character inadequacies of politicians, who seem to require power and recognition, can be paralleled when you mention nuclear power. To me, it seems to bring out posturing, machismo and short-termism when it should bring out consideration for the awesome power contained within the atom.