Hoh Kui-seek provides an almost poetic overview of the nuclear half-century before settling on his point: the rise of his native South Korea as a supplier of nuclear technology:
This is the valuable fruit of Korea’s 50-year effort to develop nuclear energy technology, including the sacrifices of the local residents who spent their careers working in nuclear power plants, the sweat of scientists and the dream of former presidents. I send a big round of applause to the people who worked hard to nurture Korea’s nuclear energy development.
We do, too. (He’s talking about the sale of a plant to UAE.) Not a substantial piece, but it has an individual quality we really liked.
At Good.is, Cyrus Wadia wonders where the heck solar energy is and comes up with free reasons for its lag:
(1) the cost is still too high for most geographic regions
(2) issues of scale
(3) the sun sets every day
These are all legitimate concerns, but Wadia remains optimistic:
I am extremely encouraged by the technology and manufacturing progress we've seen over the last 10 years, and I fully expect that we will get there in the foreseeable future.
A man after our own heart. After all, solar has moved a fairly far distance on scraps of funding – now that it’s more in the energy spotlight, miles may turn into yards into feet. (For some reason, we’re reminded of the well wisher who advises The Graduate - in the 1967 movie - to go into plastics. These days, that might better be batteries.)
It starts off badly:
Lithuania will wake up Jan. 1 with 40 percent less generating capacity….
And then it gets worse:
On top of that, Lithuanians will pay more for electricity at a time when their economy is in a deep recession.
“We’ll have to pay two or three times more for energy, and our competitiveness in European markets will be damaged,” said Bronislovas Lubys, CEO of the Achema Group, a chemical consortium.
And why should all this be?
To Lithuanians, however, the twin concrete reactor blocks of the Ignalina [nuclear] plant, rising amid lakes and oak forests near the country’s eastern border, have been a symbol of energy independence since the small Baltic country regained its freedom after the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Not unreasonably, the European Union would like not to have a plant much like Chernobyl operating within its sphere. But the Chernobyl accident happened 24 years ago and Ignalina has operated safely for an equal number of years. (Well, unit #2 has – unit #1 opened in 1983 and closed in 2004, also without incident.) But as we said, not unreasonable.
However, where does it leave not just Lithuania, but its Baltic neighbors, too. The words “energy independence” above tell the tale:
They now face the prospect of importing energy from Russia, considered an unreliable energy partner by many after its state-owned gas company shut off supplies through Ukraine last year and in 2006 over price disputes.
So there you go. There’s more to the story, reported by the AP’s Gary Peach in the St. Petersburg (Russia) Times – surprisingly, the distaste for importing energy from Russia is not softpedaled in this acccount – and it’s a good read – a spiraling series of ironies that leaves Lithuania worse off than before.
And all because a nuclear energy plant leaves the grid – for not unreasonable – but not therefore good reasons.
The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.