Renewable energy


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Nuclear energy

I am also a supporter of nuclear energy. What other options are there? As I have posted in the renewable energy forum, there is a great deal we can do to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but not everythig that is being done is helpful. The wind energy here is so expensive to produce, and the amount of material and energy required to erect a reasonably sized wind turbine, that I have heard there is no positive energy balance there. They are certainly unsightly and not possible everywhere.

Hydroelectric cannot be used everywhere, and wave power is only possible in coastal areas. You are used to the tidal effects in the Atlantic, North Sea etc. For us, the nearest piece of sea is the Med. Tides there are only a metre or so. All the water has to go in or out through the Straits of Gibraltar, so there are basically no tides to speak of. One of the main problems are the environmentalists, I am afraid! You want to install a large hydroelectric scheme? Then you have to flood a valley, build a dam etc. You will have thousands of people saying it can't be done where you want to have it. Nuclear power is clean. There are indeed risks involved, most of which are exaggerated wildly.

But can you show me the alternative? Like it or not, we need the power produced, so it has to come from somewhere. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels has to be the first priority. For a start, they are limited in supply, and we are agreed that they are damaging in effect. So where should it come from? When all the landfills are producing gas, unused farmland is producing biomass for heating and power production, or at least material to fuel biogas plants. A reasonable amount of district heating has been installed to make use of heat from cogeneration units, then we can take a look at the energy equation and see what can be done.


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