Friday, 18 March 2011

David Reid Against Nuclear Power

"Instead of focusing on risk, I would like to present an argument against nuclear power based on financial considerations."
I'm listening...
"Construction of Taiwan’s Fourth Nuclear Power Plant began in 1997... and is now expected to begin operating in 2013... What if that same amount of money had been invested in renewable energy projects beginning from 1997?"
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't part of this delay due to organized political opposition in the late 90s and early 2000s? And, ahem, who was behind that?
"In the time frame of more than a decade Taiwan could have developed renewable energy capacity that would make a significant contribution to the nation’s energy needs."
But at what cost David? The Longmen plant is designed to produce well over 2.5 gigawatts of power at a cost so far of over NT$270 billion. For comparison, the largest solar power station in the world - the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility - currently being built in California, is designed to produce 392 megawatts of power at an estimated cost of U.S.$1.375 billion, or NT40 billion. So whilst the Longmen plant is almost seven times more expensive than the Ivanpah plant, it is designed to produce almost seven times the power of the Ivanpah plant. It's equivalent - but the comparison is with state of the art solar tech, not solar tech as it was back in '97. Yes, the Longmen plant may be further delayed, but in financial aspect only, I don't think you can honestly side with renewables on this.
"Second, the development of wind and solar power plants would have stimulated the development of industry in Taiwan that could have manufactured these technologies for export."
Except that the markets for these technologies are so weak as to be heavily dependent on State subsidies - just like nuclear.
"The key point is that nuclear power is a bad investment. Everyone would be better off if the money was invested elsewhere. This would avoid the risks associated with a nuclear accident. It would also spur the development alternatives that are inherently safer."
No, David, the key point is that you have presented a "financial argument" without any evidence whatever - which is the second time I've caught you on this.

Later... from Reid's twitter feed:
"Investment in nuclear only delays investment in & development of alternatives. Nuclear is a dead end road."
This is what I meant about "insane" environmentalists on J.Michael Cole's place: nuclear energy is by far and away the single most efficient source of energy known to mankind, whilst the radiation escaping from the Fukushima plant has not killed a single person and nor is there any great liklihood that this will happen. The policies Reid would like to adovate would lead to recurrent blackouts and knock-on economic consequences on top of spiralling energy costs which would hit the financially poor the hardest.

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