Sunday, 27 March 2011

Consequences To Replacing Nuclear Power In Taiwan

Another comment of mine awaiting moderation at I-Fan Lin's latest anti-nuclear piece at GV-Taiwan:

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... "safe" energy sources (e.g. solar and wind) are commercially available right now, but they have significant problems of their own:

1) Solar photovoltaic arrays that rely on silicon are designed to around 20+% efficiency (they will reach technological maturity at 29%), and although solar companies are working on aggressively cutting the costs of manufacturing these arrays they will always require a lot of space to produce power on a significant scale (i.e. >100MW). Attaching them to buildings is a great idea, but that's not going to produce power at the sort of scales required for serious industry: serious solar needs a lot of land.

2) Wind turbines, although it can seem like they produce power almost for free, actually have enormous capital costs - if they are to be built to sufficient size and number to produce serious energy. In order to replace nuclear in Taiwan, a wind farm would have to have a capacity of about 4,700 MW, which, for an off-shore installation, would cost somewhere in the region of NT$400+ billion in capital costs alone (actually not too different from the much delayed Longmen plant). And of course, a wind farm with a capacity of 4,700 MW is not actually going to be producing that much power day-in, day-out; because it's wind, it's intermittent. You'd probably get around 30% of that output, which is 1,410 MW. For NT$400+ billion! You can reduce those costs if you build your wind turbines on land. But then, like solar, you're going to need lots and lots of land.

So guess what? If I was a Taiwanese farmer in Yunlin somewhere listening to the anti-nuclear "environmentalists" I'd be very worried - because if an elected government were to listen to them and agree with them, there's only going to be one outcome:

Land. Theft.

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As of 3pm on Sunday (27th) I-Fan Lin has published a comment by "tun aung" (and one of her own in response) and yet seemingly refused to publish either this comment above or the one preceding it (which I shall reproduce in a comment below). I am being frozen out of the debate presumably because she's afraid of me.


  1. For the attention of honest readers who may be paying attention:

    1) Notice how she doesn’t respond to the substantive points I raised, and instead resorts to disparaging my remarks as “entertaining”. If I am wrong (and as readers of her earlier piece will know I’m quite ready to admit this if it can be shown), it should be easy for her to demonstrate that I am wrong.

    2) That is the third time she has been rude to me now, whilst I have not once been rude to her.

    3) She sarcastically mentions Chernobyl as if I don’t know about this. Yet she fails to mention that, bad though the Chernobyl accident was, the number of deaths directly attributable to that accident is between 31 and 65. The number of deaths elsewhere in the Ukraine from cancer brought on by radiation exposure are more difficult to estimate – but are typically exaggerated into the hundreds of thousands. Moreover, the design and management of that plant was not, and is not, comparable to the design and management of the large number of nuclear plants elsewhere across the world in over 30 countries which continue to produce power with only a very few minor incidents and no deaths in a half-century. And many of those plants are ageing and based on designs whose electronics and control systems have been obsolete for decades already – thus they can and ought to be improved or replaced with vastly superior modern tech.

    “Taiwan is not free of earthquake.”

    Sure, but there are multiple design and siting precautions that can be taken against the risks posed by earthquakes – and I am perfectly willing to agree that these precautions may need to be revised and improved.

    “Successful people always learn from others’ failure.”

    Successful people learn from their own failures too, I-Fan Lin.

  2. Well, your reply has been posted, but free so far of further response.

  3. Stop being so paranoid about comment moderation.

    There's usually only one moderator, and if he/she isn't glued to his/her monitor then naturally your comment is going to be in limbo for a while.

  4. blob:

    In that case, two other comments had been published during the time that mine had been awaiting moderation. Yes, ordinarily I wouldn't mention it - but in that case they were deliberately ignoring my comment.

  5. (Temporarily) ignoring, maybe, but not necessarily censoring you. Obviously they find you annoying, and would rather not deal with you, I don't dispute that.

    I feel like it's when I check my messages, see something from a person that I don't feel like talking to, and so procrastinate reading it. Not exactly mature, but probably not something I-Fan Lin wouldn't do.

    However, it does seem like you get banned a lot for no good reason. I guess you do have the right to be paranoid.


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