Over the course of the past several weeks, I've noticed a lot of anti-nuclear activity coming out of South Africa. Now, by way of the blog Commentary, I see that it's bled through to the national television network there. Fortunately, not everyone is buying what they're selling:
More importantly though, one thing the anti-nuclear lobby in SA can never really explain is what we should be using instead of nuclear power. Because after all, this is all about choices: We still have a serious need to generate huge amounts of electricity, the only question is how we’re going to provide it. The standard alternative provided by environmental groups (and Carte Blanche) is to use wind or solar power instead, but this is like claiming you could use bamboo to build skyscrapers. Wind energy and solar power, while they have their place, are far too inefficient and unreliable to provide the continuous and reliable base-load power we need, and at best can only supplement traditional power generation options. It’s certainly not even feasible, economically or otherwise, to think about using solar or wind power to generate the electricity for even a smallish S.African city.For more on South Africa from our archives, click here.
That leaves only two real options: Nuclear power or, alternatively, that big old dirty but reliable elephant in the room, coal. Nothing else provides the type of energy we require. So if we are to abandon nuclear power, as Earthlife Africa and others demand, the only true option available to SA is to build more coal power stations, regardless of their CO2 emissions. Is that really what these environmentalists want? I suspect most haven’t thought it through, since they choose to believe instead that nuclear power is a conspiracy by people who, I dunno, enjoy radiation or something and choose to ignore solar and wind power because they’re evil.
Fact is, faced with the combination of a severe power crunch and the looming shadow of global warming, nuclear power is the only power generation option that makes any sense and is available now. It provides safe, reliable and efficient power while emitting zero CO2. Frankly, I think it’s brilliant.