Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bridging the Gulf with Nuclear Energy

attractions_image2Even if we were a little more, um, self-centered, we probably  wouldn't try out a sentence like this:

Nuclear power rather than renewable sources like the wind or sun are the best option for oil-rich Gulf Arab states to meet growing energy demands, especially if produced collectively, say regional experts.

Not that we don't agree, but it does seem counter-intuitive: we're not sure about wind, but one thing we do know, there's a lot of sunshine in those parts. So why the focus on nuclear?

[Saudi Electricity Company president Ali Saleh al-Barrack] said that while Saudi Arabia was conducting research into renewable energies, options such as wind and solar power were either limited or less attractive for technical reasons.

Given the high demand for power and the population growth in the Gulf region, "I think the only immediate solution is nuclear energy," which is the best option in economic and environmental terms, Barrack said.

And here's where we really started to like Mr. al-Barrack:

He dismissed fears of environmental damage from nuclear energy as "driven by Hollywood-style fiction."

There's been some concern over development of nuclear energy in the middle east because of the region's fractious history and a somewhat tendentious concern over proliferation, but the countries there (let's leave Iran to the side for now) have approached nuclear energy responsibly. Most have pacted with the United States and/or France to explore the technical options and several (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are working as a unit, initiating talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Raja Kiwan, an analyst with energy advisers PFC Energy, throws a wet blanket over the party - which is what analysts of any field are paid to do, right? - by noting that most of the partners are pursuing separate agendas, with UAE likely to get a plant first. (Well, if they can get Dubailand up and running, a nuclear energy plant should be a snap.) But even he does not deny or downplay the inevitability of nuclear energy:

"Nuclear is probably the most tested and the most applicable source of energy for the (level) of demand growth that this region is going to be seeing over the next 20-25 years," he said.

It's enough to make a nuclear energy advocate self-centered.

Note: The picture above is of Dubailand. Looks like fun in the sun.


gunter said...

Saudi Arabia wants to build nukes to increase export of oil is another connection between nuclear power and fossil fuel.

Daniel Work said...

Too true Gunter.....

Oil and now natural gas have become too valuable to burn for electricity and with many billions of dollars at stake who's going to waste their time with toys like wind and solar.

But I'm guessing that not what you meant...

gunter said...

Its more relevant to show that we now have an emerging nuclear powered petroleum industry in light of the efforts to use nuclear to also extract the tar sands in northern Alberta-a resource second only to the House of Saud.

So much for the "clean air" industry which was always a big "CON" job by Coal Oil and Nuclear ala Cheney's closed door meetings.

And to be more precise its not about the unquestionable availability and affordability of solar and wind in Saudia Arabia but about their nationalistic interests for the acquisition to home grown nuclear weapons materials.

Kirk Sorensen said...

Gunter's tying all his favorite strings together again...

Nuclear = Bush/Cheney/Hitler

Nuclear = weapons

Never gets old, eh Gunter?

Occam's Razor here--maybe they want to use nuclear power so they can.... stop burning oil in Saudi Arabia that they can sell to stupid Americans who can't build nuclear power for themselves because of brain-dead anti-nuclear zealots?

Boy those Saudis are clever, ain't they?

Anonymous said...

Gunter's policies and proposals fund, however indirectly, Islamic fascism in lands drenched in mineral slime. Keeping the US off of nuclear power keeps us dependent on fossil fuel and that is exactly what Gunter is being paid to do by the monetary support he receives from those in whose financial interests it is that nuclear NOT succeeed. Solar and wind are a joke. No sunlight - no solar. And if wind were so darn great, then why aren't cargo and passenger ships still powered by sails?