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The Scotsman has a good pro and con debate.
April 03, 2005 in Current Affairs, Freedom, Science | Permalink
The only arguments against nuclear are that it's messy and risky. Curing the mess is simply a matter of finding a good place to throw it. That issue is simply a matter of political will. Pick a spot and start using it. Nimbys should never determine the outcome of a critical public issue. As to the risk, I think that technology has changed since TMI and Chernobyl. Nuclear power should be unemotionally reconsidered in that light. Hydro and Wind are just not up to the task.
The crucial argument in favor of nuclear is that it's carbon free. Alistair Carmichael tries to throw some dust in the air by suggesting that a life-cycle analysis would show that nuclear is generating a lot more greenhouse gas than we realize. I'd like to see the numbers on that one. You might as well say that it's not worth building a nuclear plant because it doesn't have a positive net energy output. I just don't believe it. If need be, we could use nuclear power to generate hydrogen as fuel for the construction and decommissioning machinery. Just because we use carbon fuel for these activities does not mean that it's the only way. It is guaranteed, however, that we will continue to use carbon fuel until we start creating alternatives, and heavy reliance on nuclear power is the only feasible way to do that.
April 04, 2005 at 12:17 AM
Carmichael had one good point about more nuclear power plants opening the door to more nuclear weapons in little dictatorships all over the world.
It's another argument for requiring each nation to adopt all the institutions of democracy before it begins a nuclear power program.
Only the openness and accountability of democracy allow for adequate safeguards against atomic energeny hazards and nuclear arms proliferation.
Once the whole world is free, we can begin phasing out nuclear weapons altogether. Because then, we can verify.
Frank Warner |
April 04, 2005 at 12:53 PM
There are ways to secure power installations against conversion for weapon development. Countries like Iran who desire nuclear weapons will resist any of those techniques. Democracies like South Africa are just happy to have the electricity. There are a lot of countries who can cooperate without substantially increasing the risk.
April 04, 2005 at 06:09 PM
Nuclear reactors are only a pretext for developing nuclear warheads for some countries. So really, the two issues are different. The most basic phase of nuclear reactors is to have the uranium fuel generate a fission nuclear reaction, thereby running the generators to create electricity. This same fuel, under wrong hands, are upgraded to plutonium for tipping warheads enhanching them to nuclear capablities. Therefore, nuclear plants are NOT part of the process in a nation going nuclear in the armament sense.
April 06, 2005 at 04:51 PM
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