Saturday, 26 March 2011

To The Anti-Nuclear Brigade

My comment awaiting moderation here. My quotations from I-Fan Lin's article in italics, my responses in regular type face:

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"The supporters of nuclear electricity should convince us why we should take risks because of some high energy-consuming companies."

I will gladly try: you should accept those risks for (a minimum of) three reasons; first, because those risks have been managed successfully for half a century and are even being managed very well now after two enormous natural disasters; second, because those high energy consuming companies are part of a global economy which is what keeps working people alive and well and which relentlessly continues to raise material standards of living everywhere; and third, because the energy needs of those companies cannot be adequately supported by alternative sources of energy without incurring enormous political, social, environmental and financial costs. Good enough?

"Because the price is so cheap for industries, it is easy for them to waste electricity. If we increase the price for industrial electricity, we may be able to eliminate those industries that consume a lot of energy and generate a lot of pollution. After we transform the structure of industries fundamentally, we will solve the energy problems."

Actually, I know some of the people in these industries responsible for plant energy efficiency - and let me tell you, wasting electricity is absolutely not an "easy" thing for them to even think about. They often work 12 hour shifts 6 or 7 days a week trying to further improve their efficient use of water, electricity and gas or to ensure this efficiency is the best they can possibly achieve and to write and evaluate new proposals for further improvements.

And as for "eliminating" industries... what a breathtakingly arrogant thing for Chia-Yang Tsai (蔡嘉陽) to say. He should go and say that to the face of every single one of those thousands of Taiwanese people whose lives and the lives of their children and families depend on the work they do in those industries.

If there is any mistake in [nuclear plant] management, radiation pollution takes place.

Not true - whether radiation pollution occurs depends on the nature and severity of the mistakes or external events; to say it occurs as a result of "any" mistake is simply not true (and I think that in the case of Fukushima, it is worth pointing out that the radiation leakage has not occured as a direct result of "mistakes" in plant management, but as a result of two enormous natural disasters whose effects have been exacerbated by certain design flaws). Radiation may escape, but that is not necesarily the same thing as pollution since, at least in the case of Fukushima, the vast majority of escaped radioisotopes have had insignificant half-lives of seconds or minutes.

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