From a section at Examiner.com called Info 101 comes this bit from Michele Mello aiming to determine if nuclear energy is “clean”:
Some people consider nuclear power to be a clean energy resource and claim it has no GHG emissions. However nuclear energy is the costliest energy resource of all. The cost to mine, transport, refine, and build infrastructure to create nuclear power is astronomical, as will be elaborated later. Much like fossil fuels, uranium is not a renewable resource and once it runs out there isn’t anymore.
Here’s a contest: spot the errors in this one paragraph and then hope this doesn’t really represent info 101. At the least, Ms. Mello could have bypassed the journalistic “Some people claim” construction. Some people claim I’m a god in my own time, but everyone else would be right to wonder who those
morons people are.
To her credit, Mello is attempting to engage the issue – she also looks at hydro and hydrogen. We think her facts are off, but not her sincerity. Perhaps we could send her a few NEI fact sheets.
This story about Dr. Anil Kakodkar, the chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of its Department of Atomic Energy (seems like he should be one or the other, but there you are) is a sort of confusing read, likely due to translation, but this bit still gave us pause:
The difference between nuclear scientists and normal humans is that they can't be 99.99 percent correct. They have to be 100 percent in whatever they do and Dr Kakodkar's lecture in Mumbai was just that.
That seems awfully romantic to us. Scientists don’t get to be 100% correct too often just by the nature of science itself – not to mention the nature of human existence. Non-nuclear folks don’t make it to 99.99 percent correct very often either. Elevating nuclear science to some kind of celestial sphere doesn’t help the discussion as much as one might think.
On the other hand, this:
India will be importing some 40 light water reactors which will help India stabilize its demand for power by 2020. And after that thorium based reactors would fill the gap.
If there were worries about India and its industrialization, consider them retired. They seem to have exactly the right idea about how to move forward.
Consider that Viet-Nam is starting at a fairly bad place:
At present, about 60 percent of Vietnam's energy comes from coal and gas-fired plants and 40 percent from hydropower turbines, but demand outstrips supply and blackouts are common.
And consider the potential:
Demand for power will remain robust with growth seen at 14-15% per year "in the next several years", he said.
Total power consumption is forecast to rise to 93.4 billion kilowatt-hours next year based on forecast economic growth of 6.5-7% and industrial production expansion of 7.5%, the government said in a report on Thursday.
Then think of a solution. The Viet-Namese have:
Viet Nam plans to start building its first nuclear power plant in five years and plug it into the grid by 2020 as demand for power continues to grow at a rate of about 15% per year, the country's top atomic official said.
This will boost their energy capacity quite a lot, but it won’t allow those coal and gas plants to close because the demand for electricity will already have outstripped the additional juice produced by the nuclear energy plant.
But at least it won’t be another coal-fired plant, so it’s better than just a wash. (And this article only covers the nuclear element and serving up more electricity – Viet-Nam may well have other plans to reduce their carbon footprint.)
Interesting article. Viet-Nam is moving like chain lightning to get a nuclear industry together. It’s amazing what can be done when the will to do it is there.
You may be sure that whenever we do a story about Viet-Nam, that’s where the picture will come from. It’s the Ireland of Southeast Asia.